LANSING — State Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) introduced House Bill 4227 this week to create the Committee on Michigan’s Mining Future, which would be responsible for making advisory legislative and policy recommendations to strengthen and develop sustainable mining practices in Michigan.
“When our communities lost nearly 400 high-paying jobs with the idling of the Empire mine in 2016, many community members felt Michigan dropped the ball on understanding what the industry needed from elected leaders in Lansing, as well as Washington,” said Cambensy. “Shortly after, I called together a small group of previous legislators and industry leaders to begin looking at how Minnesota was able to minimize the bust and boom cycle of mining within its state.”
In 2004, Minnesota created the Governor’s Committee on Minnesota’s Mining Future to develop a long-term strategic mining plan. Their comprehensive plan focused on ferrous, non-ferrous and aggregate mining industry needs like infrastructure, transportation, energy, applied research, environmental quality, government policies, taxation, rural development, mining legacy cleanup funds, and communications and public outreach strategies. Cambensy hopes to bring that same level of commitment to Michigan.
“Only by bringing to the table a diverse group of people from the industry, state departments, environmental groups, tribal members and labor, can Michigan once again show its commitment as a leader in 21st century mining practices,” continued Cambensy. “With mining exploration on the rise again in Michigan, now is the time to proactively work together on Michigan’s mining future, so we are well-positioned to meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.”
The proposed committee would be comprised of 15 members with governor-appointed representatives from various state mining operations, environmental non-profits, Native American tribes and the International Steelworker’s Union. The committee would also include officials from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.