The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act -- legislation that includes Alaskan Congressman Don Young's amendment to exempt certain mining activities located on national forest land from the 2001 Forest Service Roadless Rule.
For nearly a decade, mining projects throughout Alaska were exempt from the Roadless Rule. However, in 2011, a federal judge overturned this exemption and ever since, several crucially important Alaskan mining projects have been clouded with regulatory uncertainty and subject to costly delays. Rep. Young's amendment seeks to clarify this ambiguity and allow for the development of Alaska's resources.
"It's time for us to loosen China's stranglehold on the world rare earths market," said Rep. Young. "Whether it's to build computers or build defense systems, rare earth minerals are the future and with the right regulatory environment, Alaska has the potential to be a world leader in this arena. My amendment is straightforward -- it simply brings back a decade-old Roadless Rule exemption for several of Alaska's highly mineralized areas -- such as the Bokan Mountain project. The federal government needs to make it easier to harness the resources God gave us -- and today the House voted to cut red-tape and do just that."