American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
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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The governor’s efforts tie into the larger issue of outdated and rigid permitting processes standing in the way of the United States making the most of our mineral resource potential, the harnessing of which would go far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.