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House approves bill to overturn mining ban

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] on Thursday approved a bill [vote summary] that would allow mining in the Superior National Forest [official website] in Minnesota.

The Minnesota's Economic Rights in the Superior National Forest Act (MINER act) [materials] is a response to legislation [press release] passed under the Obama administration [JURIST report] to protect the environment and promote green energy.

The bill, which passed 216-204 along party lines, would allow for mining in the Superior National Forest and a renewing of leases to do so. "To require congressional approval of any mineral withdrawal or monument designation involving the National Forest System lands in the State of Minnesota, to provide for the renewal of certain mineral leases in such lands, and for other purposes."

Representative Tom Emmer (R-MN) [official website], who sponsored the bill, cautioned that the bill would not circumvent any leaseholder from following any current environmental regulations:

Nothing in this legislation will circumvent any of the numerous strict local, state and federal environmental regulations and permitting requirements currently in place - especially when one of the world's most beautiful national treasures is at stake. By passing the MINER Act today, we are protecting more than ten thousand jobs and billions of dollars in revenue and education funding, while leaving an extensive process intact to protect and preserve the environment and our state.
The bill now moves to the US Senate.

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