U.S. leaders spar over mining bill

July 13, 2012 at 10:18 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 13 (UPI) -- A U.S. lawmaker said a mining bill passed by the House of Representatives gives major concessions to big business.

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives helped pass a measure that deregulates part of the national mining industry. It would cut down on the time allotted for environmental reviews, though its supporters touted the legislation as good for economic growth.

Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, described the measure as a gift to mining corporations.

"The bill would short circuit proper environmental review and therefore provide a financial windfall for large companies mining for gold, silver, uranium and potentially even coal on public lands," a message on his Web site explained.

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the House committee, said the measure would ensure the United States is more self-reliant on what he said were critical minerals.

"This bill will help reverse this dependency and insource these good-paying mining jobs to here in the United States," he said in a statement.

The measure is unlikely to pass through the U.S. Senate, controlled by Democrats.

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