Alaskan economy needs mining permitting reform

Posted on October 21, 2013 by Minerals Make Life

This week, Rebecca Logan, general manager of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, discussed the specifics of Alaskan minerals mining in the Anchorage Daily News and Juneau Empire.

Logan highlighted the 9,500 Alaskan jobs that the mining industry directly supported last year — with an average salary of more than double the state average — and the surrounding communities primarily supported by mining operations.

But in Alaska and the contiguous states, a duplicative, outdated permitting process can keep new mining projects in a holding pattern for seven to 10 years.

The September passage of the bi-partisan National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013 (H.R. 761) by the House, however, aims to bring stability and transparency to the opaque, inefficient permitting process, says Logan:

“By ensuring more efficient permitting for new mining projects, H.R. 761 could enable states like Alaska to attract new investments and jobs that our nation has forfeited for years.

What’s more, H.R. 761 maintains the strict environmental regulations already in place to ensure Alaska’s environment remains pristine. The bill does not alter environmental safeguards, but rather allows federal and state governments to coordinate, making the process more efficient, but no less thorough.”

It is now time for action on H.R. 761 by the Senate, urged Logan.

“This legislation is critical to Alaska’s — and our nation’s — economic competitiveness,” she said.

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