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On March 31, 2022, the Department of Interior announced the formation of an interagency working group to develop recommendations for improving Federal hardrock mining regulations, laws, and permitting processes, and invited public comment to help inform the efforts of the working group. The Request for Information sought, among other things, recommendations on “opportunities to reduce time, cost, and risk of permitting without compromising strong environmental and consultation benchmarks.” Members of the Wallace Stegner Center of Land Resources and the Environment, at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah submitted comments based on their shared expertise in mining law, public land planning and management, federal Indian law, tribal sovereignty and governance, intergovernmental coordination, and federal permitting issues. The recommendations covered four broad categories: (1) increasing agency capacity to deal with strategic mineral development and associated issues by ensuring sufficient staff, adequate budgets, and institutional knowledge; (2) using land use planning procedures to facilitate mine permitting without causing unnecessary or undue environmental degradation; and (3) creating a voluntary “fast-track” program with a dedicated inter-agency permit processing team for applicants who voluntarily choose to meet the most stringent applicable performance and mitigation standards; and (4) developing incentives to stabilize the strategic mineral supply chain and ensure that strategic minerals are available for domestic needs.
Keiter, Robert B.; Pleune, Jamie; Tanana, Heather; Daniels, Brigham; Duane, Tim; and Parker, Elisabeth, "Comments Submitted in Response to Request for Information to Inform Interagency Working Group on Mining Regulations, Laws, and Permitting" (2022). Utah Law Faculty Scholarship. 373.