Why the U.S. Needs Mine Permitting Reform
May 23, 2023
Nearly two decades ago, the U.S. attracted almost 20 percent of t...
On Monday, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar withdrew more than one million acres of federal land in northern Arizona from hardrock mining. The ban, which will be in place for the next 20 years, is expected to cost state, local and federal governments an estimated $16.6 million in annual tax revenue, according to the Associated Press. The decision appears to discount the Dept. of the Interior’s own environmental impact statement, which concluded that future mining activity is unlikely to have significant impacts on the park, the surrounding environment or on allied tourism.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, called the decision “a misguided effort to impose ‘buffer zones’ around national parks and other federal lands that effectively lock-up vast areas without Congressional approval.”
Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said that “Safe and responsible mining of this land could have produced thousands of high paying, family wage mining jobs.”
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer projected that Arizona will lose out on approximately $10 billion worth of economic activity as a result of the ban.
“The Grand Canyon is a timeless treasure and Arizona’s most recognizable landmark,” said Gov. Brewer. “Nobody wants to see it harmed. But I believe that environmental protection and economic growth are not mutually exclusive. We can and should have both.”