A federal group issued a report on Tuesday outlining more than 60 mining policy recommendations as part of a broader effort to bolster mineral supply chains.
The report, which was the product of an Interior Department-led interagency working group, said Congress and the executive branch must modernize a more than 150-year-old mining law to speed domestic development of renewable energy.
The 1872 General Mining Law governs mineral mining, with the report arguing it was a “hard truth” that meeting modern demand would be difficult without updating the law.
The report recommends:
- A congressionally imposed royalty on minerals extracted from federal lands
- Congress authorize federal agencies to block permits from going to companies with a history of environmental law violations
- Federal agencies develop and share project schedules with the public
- Agencies should prioritize plans that have minimal environmental impacts
- Several measures for more tribal inclusion, such as including tribes in early-stage meetings
The report was met with pushback from Republicans like Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), who said the proposed reforms would “force us to buy more critical minerals from mines using forced and child labor instead of harnessing our abundant resources here at home.”
But the Biden administration argued that the proposals would help the government “meet the needs of the clean energy economy while respecting our obligations to Tribal Nations, taxpayers, the environment, and future generations.”
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