Bill to prevent president from barring mining on federal land introduced
Minnesota’s congressman Pete Stauber introduced the Saving America’s Mines Act to Congress in a preemptive attempt to limit Joe Biden, or future presidents from banning mining on federal land where it's already allowed.
The Duluth News Tribune reported that Stauber, a republican, introduced the bill as many mining supporters in the state fear the new administration in Washington will reinstate Obama-era rules to rescinded the leases of Twin Metals, a proposed underground copper-nickel mine in the same watershed as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Those rules also prompted study on a proposed 20-year ban on mining activity on 234,000 acres of the Superior National Forest outside the BWCAW.
Officials at the time said mining in the Rainy River Watershed presented too great a risk of polluting the BWCAW.
The Trump administration reversed those restrictions which helped pave the way for Twin Metals to submit its mine plan to regulators and begin the yearslong regulatory process in December 2019.
“If our nation is to truly move forward and prosper, the Obama-era attacks on mining must remain a thing of the past. … That’s why I am proud to introduce legislation to prevent this Administration, and future Administrations, from eliminating important mining jobs and stalling our economic engine," Stauber said in a news release.
Stauber said the bill, coined the "Saving America’s Mines Act," had the support of Minnesota's three other Republican representatives.
But the U.S. House, Senate and presidency are controlled by Democrats, giving the bill little chance of becoming law.
Stauber said copper-nickel mining, which has never been conducted in Minnesota, is key to bringing in well-paying jobs to the area and supplying the country with critical minerals.
Environmental groups, which argue the type of mining is too risky for Minnesota, were quick to condemn Stauber and his bill.
Photo: The ? Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness?