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Geoscience Policy Monthly Review: September 2013

The Monthly Review is part of a continuing effort to improve communications about the role of geoscience in policy. Current and archived monthly reviews are available online.

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Natural Resources

  • House approves bill to streamline mining on US land

The House of Representatives passed the National Strategic and Critical Mineral Production Act, in a 246-178 vote. If enacted, the bill will expedite government review of gold, silver, copper, and uranium mining on federal land. Supporters of the bill suggest the bill will help create jobs by reducing waiting periods for new mining projects, which can linger up to 10 years; opponents suggest that it would weaken environmental protections. The bill proposes to accept state review over federal environmental review and sets a 60-day limit to file legal challenges. The bill still awaits consideration and approval by both the Senate and President before becoming law.

Sources: House Republican Conference; Library of Congress

  • President poised to sign bi-partisan helium legislation

Both the House and Senate passed crucial helium legislation this September to avert the shutdown of the federal helium reserve near Amarillo, Texas. The reserve provides the United States with 40 percent of its helium supply, and is critical for supplying the private sector with helium for hospital equipment, solar panels, and computer silicon chips. H.R. 527, the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013, passed with an amendment by the House and is expected to be signed by President Obama in the coming weeks.

Revenue from the helium reserve helps provide funding for national parks, remediation, and will help to reduce the national deficit by $90 million over the next decade.

Sources: Energy & Environment Daily, the Government Printing Office

 

 

 

 

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Monthly Review prepared by: Maeve Boland, Geoscience Policy Director; Abby Seadler, Geoscience Policy Associate; andSophia Ford, AGI/AAPG Fall Intern.

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Compiled October 1, 2013

 

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