From reinstating the Roadless Rule in the Tongass Forest to replacing the General Mining Law of 1872, federal regulations being proposed by President Joe Biden threaten to rain on a parade of strong metals prices, growing demand for critical minerals, and robust investments into mineral exploration and mining across Alaska.
“We recommend Congress develop legislation to replace outdated mining laws including the General Mining Law (GML) of 1872 governing locatable minerals (including nickel) on federal lands, the Materials Disposal Act of 1947 to dispose of minerals found on federal lands, and the Mineral Land Leasing Act of 1920 among others,” the Biden administration penned in a June 8 statement on battery supply chains.
“These should be updated to have stronger environmental standards, up-to-date fiscal reforms, better enforcement, inspection and bonding requirements, and clear reclamation planning requirements.”
While a complete overhaul of these regulations could have wide-reaching effects on how mining companies explore for and produce minerals on federal lands, the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to once again broaden the definition of “waters of the United States” could have much wider implications for domestic mining across the nation, and especially Alaska.
“For the Biden administration and the EPA to redefine waters is nothing more than a naked power grab for federal rule from Washington, D.C.,” Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy commented on EPA’s June 9 announcement of plans to redefine WOTUS.
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