Why the U.S. Needs Mine Permitting Reform
May 23, 2023
Nearly two decades ago, the U.S. attracted almost 20 percent of t...
The mining industry is one of the most heavily regulated and costly industries in the world. Each new project faces robust environmental, reclamation and financial assurance requirements at both the federal and state level. In addition to these requirements, the industry is committed to investing heavily in the development of advanced technologies that minimize mining’s footprint and environmental impact.
Environmental protections are necessary, but the sheer number of regulations in the U.S. – some conflicting with or duplicating others – has led to a lengthy permitting process that far exceeds countries with similar environmental standards, harming U.S. competitiveness. The purpose of the permitting process for any mining activity is to ensure that activity is done responsibly. For a major mining project, that can mean 30 or more federal, state and local regulatory programs could apply.
Minerals mining also requires hundreds of millions of dollars to find, produce and process minerals that are essential to everyday life. Companies make that investment and through their efforts our domestic supply chain has the raw materials that are required for technological innovation, national defense, consumer goods and a strong infrastructure. But proposals to increase regulatory requirements and place additional fees on new and existing mining projects put that domestic supply chain in jeopardy, causing industries to look abroad for materials not readily available at home. The most recent USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries report shows our import reliance remains alarmingly high.
In order to halt our increasing mineral import reliance, smarter regulation – not more regulation – is needed. Without a stricter timeline around the permitting process, our supply chains will continue to rely on foreign nations for an increasing percentage of minerals – putting our national security, manufacturing sector and economic growth at great risk.
To learn more about environmental regulations in the U.S. mining sector, visit our fact sheet.