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Bill To Create Mining Advisory Committee Moves Forward

A proposal in Lansing to create a mining advisory committee is moving forward.

The bill was introduced by Marquette Democrat State Representative Sara Cambensy in February to form the Committee on Michigan’s Mining Future

If approved, the plan would create a two-year, fifteen-member committee would be responsible for making advisory legislative and policy recommendations to strengthen and develop sustainable mining practices in Michigan.

“I was pleased to see my bill to create a Committee on Michigan’s Mining Future pass unanimously out of committee today, garnering the support of both Democratic and Republican House Natural Resources Committee members,” Cambensy said. “Our roots in the U.P. began in mining, and it was good to see this bill recognized and supported at our state capitol in Lansing. The next generation of mining will incorporate new technology and high-paying jobs while also protecting the environment, proving that it’s not an either-or decision when it comes to the economy and our natural resources.”

Both Republican State Representatives Greg Markkanen of Hancock and Beau LaFave of Iron Mountain supported the bill.

“Mining is one of our core industries here in the U.P. but the industry is hampered by a lack of coordination among stakeholders, regulators and communities,” said Markkanen. “This advisory committee would help us bridge the gap and bring quality jobs to the U.P. and grow our economy.”

LaFave said this plan was a product of the representatives of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula working together to bring policies that work to residents.

“Mining is not only a part of the Upper Peninsula’s rich history, it makes our modern lifestyle possible – from the raw materials for infrastructure and roads to minerals needed to build computers and cell phones – and this advisory committee is intended to build this important industry without threatening natural resources and or compromising the safety of workers and communities, LaFave said. “It’s crucial we make sure our state government works for Yooper families.”

The duties of the advisory committee would include:

  • Evaluate government policies that affect the mining and minerals industries.
  • Develop public policy strategies to enhance the growth of the mining industry.
  • Advise and bolster partnerships between industry,  institutions,  funding groups, environmental groups and state and federal agencies.

During consideration, an amendment was approved to include a local government representative as a member of the proposed committee to ensure better collaboration with local municipalities.

The committee would still be comprised of 15 members with governor-appointed representatives from various state mining operations, environmental non-profits, Native American tribes and the International Steelworker’s Union.

The committee would also include officials from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

“With more than 25 different organizations and individuals who formally supported this bill in committee, I am greatly encouraged that we could come together and take a solutions-oriented approach to ensuring an economically and environmentally sustainable future for mining in Michigan,” said Cambensy.

The House Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation voted unanimously Tuesday to refer the bill to the next level of review before the new House Ways and Means Committee.

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