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Emmer bill prohibits excluding federal land from mining

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., has introduced legislation that would prohibit the U.S. Forest Service from excluding any National Forest land from mining without approval from Congress.

The bill, HR 3905, also would prohibit the establishment of any national monuments in Minnesota without Congressional approval.

The bill also would restore mineral leases to Twin Metals, the company which had been planning to build a large underground copper mine along the Kawishiwi River near Ely. Similar legislation to restore those leases already has advanced in the House.

The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn. And Rep. Jason Lewis, R-Minn. It does not apply to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness where mining is prohibited.

The bill is a reaction to a last-minute Obama administration move to withdraw the Twin Metals mineral leases and also exclude parts of the Superior National Forest from future mining until after a comprehensive environmental review is done on the impact of copper mining on the forest, including the BWCAW.

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