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NMA: BLM’s plans will cause “serious hardship”

Published by , Digital Assistant Editor
World Coal,

National Mining Association (NMA) Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Katie Sweeney, is to tell a Senate panel that the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) withdrawal of more than 10 million ha. of mineral-rich federal land from mining activity under the guise of sage grouse conservation “will cause serious hardship to the nation’s economic and mineral security,” while doing nothing to combat proven threats to the sage grouse.

Before the Senate Public Lands, Forests and Mining subcommittee, Sweeney will explain that the massive withdrawal goes against the government’s own findings that identify the primary threats to the sage grouse come not from mining but from wildfire and the loss of native habitat to native species and conifer encroachment.

The withdrawal will come with few measurable benefits for sage grouse, but the economic repercussions of removing 10 million ha. from new mining claims will be potentially severe.

“Mining provides for nearly two million high-wage jobs, generates US$46 billion annually in taxes and provides key minerals to industries – from laptops and cars, to infrastructure and life-saving medical devices – that comprise 14% of US GDP,” she said.

BLM never detailed the number of existing mining claims in the area it recommended for withdrawal. Using BLM’s database and maps of the proposed withdrawal area, Sweeney identified nearly 6000 existing mining claims throughout impacted states.

NMA’s analysis of agency land use planning data further calls into question the purpose of this massive withdrawal from mining operations.

“In no state did existing mining claims impact more than three percent of the withdrawal area and, in total, effected only about one percent of the 10 million ha.,” said Sweeney.

Among the aims of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act is the requirement to manage public lands in a manner that ‘recognises the nation’s need for domestic sources of minerals.’

“The proposed withdrawal is simply bad public policy that comes with a dangerously high price tag,” said Sweeney.

Edited from press release by

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