Local job creation with responsible natural resource development in Minnesota got a boost on Thursday as the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Minnesota’s Economic Rights in the Superior National Forest Act, a bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN).
H.R. 3905, also known as the MINER Act, prevents future federal executive branch overreach by requiring congressional approval of all mineral withdrawals within Minnesota’s National Forest System lands.
“Mining has been a way of life for Minnesota since the 1800s and is a crucial part of our state’s economy,” Rep. Emmer said. “Unfortunately, this was not a shared interest with the Obama Administration. In their waning days, the previous administration took unnecessary, politically motivated actions by refusing to renew mineral leases and starting the process to withdraw nearly a quarter million acres of federal land from development.”
Joining Emmer in introducing the bill were Minnesota colleagues from both sides of the aisle, Reps. Collin Peterson, a Democrat, and Republican Congressman Jason Lewis.
“By passing the MINER Act today, we are protecting more than 10,000 jobs, and billions of dollars in revenue and education funding while leaving an extensive process intact to protect and preserve the environment and our beloved Boundary Waters,” Emmer added.
After its introduction, the House Committee on Natural Resources considered the bill. Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) said, “I thank Rep. Emmer for his leadership on this issue and commitment to protecting the economic livelihoods of his constituents. This bill protects jobs for Minnesotans while facilitating future economic opportunities across the state through responsible, environmentally sound mineral development.”
Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Chairman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) said, aside from thousands of jobs, much more is at risk if H.R. 3905 is not signed into law: “$3 billion for education, $1.5 billion in annual wages, $2.5 billion annually for our economy and a total of 4 billion tons of strategic-and-critical-mineral-containing ore…”
The bill simply secures the ability to present mining plans for an area already authorized for mining by Congress, Gosar said. “The people of Minnesota should know they have a representative who will fight for their livelihoods in Congressman Emmer,” he added.