Minerals mining and advanced energy can, and must, coexist

Posted on July 12, 2013 by Minerals Make Life

On July 5, the Bureau of Land Management identified 17 so-called “solar energy zones” in six Western states and issued an order that withdrew more than 300,000 acres of federally owned land from any new mining claims. These areas in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico have been selected by the federal government for being well suited for solar energy development, but this decision comes at a cost. Katie Sweeney, senior vice president of legal affairs at NMA, said:

“Federal lands are so important and critical to a strong domestic mining industry because these lands have historically and will continue to provide a large share of the metals and hard rock minerals that are produced in the country.”

Despite the importance of these domestic resources, the government currently restricts or prohibits new mining operations on more than half of all federally owned public lands. The lands restricted by Public Land Order No. 7818 historically have provided a large share of the metals and hardrock minerals produced in this country — and should continue to do so.

Without access to federal lands for mining — and without a clear, commonsense permitting process — we are putting our ability to develop these resources — and the products they help build — at risk. If the federal government continues on this path against domestic minerals development, the United States will lose its competitive edge and our supply chains will remain at the mercy of politically unstable foreign nations. 

Minerals mining and advanced energy technologies can and must coexist. This approach will maintain our country’s economic stability and national security, while allowing us to achieve many of the president’s advanced energy goals.

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