Earthjustice Applauds Biden Administration’s Calls for Mining Reform, Urges Truly Sustainable Solutions to Meet the Demands of the Clean Energy Transition
Department of Interior announced the formation of a new interagency working group to inform much-needed changes to mining regulations and legislation
Today, as part of the Biden’s administration’s announcement for “Securing a Made in America Supply Chain,” the Department of Interior announced the formation of a new interagency working group to inform much-needed changes to mining regulations and legislation. Since 1872, the Hardrock Mining Law has remained unchanged and governed mining operations on public lands. With this announcement, the Department of Interior is committing to initiating updates to these regulations by the end of 2022.
The newly-released Principles of Mining Reform would ensure that mining regulations and legislation reflect strong community and environmental protections. They will also incentivize the expansion of a circular economy of reusing and recycling existing materials to meet the demand for critical minerals in a sustainable way. The announcement recognizes the need for meaningful tribal consultation and community engagement with local stakeholders in communities impacted by potential critical mineral extraction.
In response to the announcement, Earthjustice Senior Legislative Representative Blaine Miller-McFeeley issued the following statement:
“President Biden’s commitment to mining reform will begin the process of establishing strong responsible mining standards that protect Indigenous sacred sites and iconic environmental treasures from the threats of destructive mining, while prioritizing reusing and recycling existing materials to help us meet critical mineral demands for the clean energy transition.
“For too long, Indigenous communities have borne the disproportionate impacts of the mining industry’s destructive practices, and the time has come for the U.S. government to truly respect the sovereignty of tribal nations and prevent mining in special places. In places where mining must occur, these principles, if appropriately implemented, will recognize the need for meaningful tribal consultation and engagement with all impacted communities to ensure that mining proceeds in the most sustainable way possible — not under antiquated laws from 150 years ago.
“We do not need more dirty mining to achieve the clean energy transition, and greater accountability will ensure that any mining done in the United States will meet the highest environmental standards with minimal human impacts.”
In September 2021, Earthjustice joined a coalition of Indigenous and conservation organizations and filed a rulemaking petition with the Department of the Interior to modernize hardrock mining on public lands. Earthjustice remains focused on uplifting mining reform and creating a circular economy as important solutions for ensuring the sustainability of critical mineral supply chains.
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