American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Wisconsin to accelerate mining permitting process?

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and like-minded state legislators are currently attempting to re-write the state’s mining laws to “create certainty in the regulatory process.”  Legislation that would streamline the permitting of iron mines passed the Assembly last week at a vote margin of 59 to 36, with the governor touting the benefits he says passage of the bill would have on job creation and the state’s economy as a whole.  The State Senate is expected to take up the bill as early as this week. 

    The governor’s efforts tie into the larger issue of outdated and rigid permitting processes standing in the way of the United States making the most of our mineral resource potential, the harnessing of which would go far in creating jobs and reducing our exposure to geopolitical risk associated with foreign import dependencies.

    The Behre Dolbear Group’s 2011 Ranking of Countries for Mining Investment or “Where Not to Invest,” shows the U.S. tied with Papua New Guinea for the dubious honor of having the longest approval process for mining permits among the top 25 mining countries in the world.  While the 2012 ranking has yet to be released, there is little reason that the U.S.’s ranking would have improved.

    At a time when the rest of the world is off to the races when it comes to securing their critical mineral needs, creating a regulatory framework that would foster the responsible exploration and development of the mineral resources we’re fortunate to have beneath our own soil should top policy makers priorities.

  • The “Neverending Story” of red tape, roadblocks for mining in Arizona

    Authorities in Pima County, Ariz., have denied an air quality permit application submitted by Rosemont Copper as part of its efforts to open a new mine southeast of Tucson. Claiming the company failed to provide proper documentation, the county’s Air Quality Control district delivered the denial on Thursday, September 29.

    Rosemont Copper submitted its proposal for the project in 2007 with hopes that the permitting process would be long concluded by now, especially given that it would provide a boon to the ailing local economy. Yet, it took until this summer – four years later – for the U.S. Forest Service to issue its preliminary Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which lead the Inside Tucson Business editorial board to lament in June that “a process that was supposed to take a year to 18 months has taken four years.”

    While Pima County’s permit denial likely won’t impact the federal permitting process – which finally appears to be on track with the completion of the U.S. Forest Service’s impact statement – it is exemplary of the myriad roadblocks and bureaucratic red tape that domestic mining projects face in the United States today.

    In fact, according to a recent Behre Dolbear report, the U.S. has the worst-in-the-world ranking among mining nations when it comes to permitting times. Much of this fact is owed to the so-called “not in my backyard” mentality, which is morphing more and more into a dangerous form of environmental imperialism, to which, as a nation, we can’t afford to succumb.

  • American Resources Takes the Hill

    American Resources introduced itself to Capitol Hill staff this week, briefing Senate staff on Tuesday followed by a House briefing Wednesday.  I was joined by Laura Skaer of the Northwest Mining Association (NWMA), Betty Gibbs of the Mining & Metallurgical Society of America (MMSA), and Izzy LaBranch of NWMA’s “The More  You Dig” initiative. During [...]