LANSING — The House Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation held a hearing today on a bill sponsored by state Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) that would strengthen and develop a sustainable mining, minerals and aggregate industry in Michigan. Cambensy’s House Bill 4227 would create the Committee on Michigan’s Mining Future in order to guide sound, long-term mining policy in the state.

“It was great to see a diverse group of industry, labor, research and school officials testify in support of my bill in Lansing today. Collectively, we were able to tell our story on why state support for mining and aggregates is critical in order to grow and sustain our economy,” said Cambensy. “Our ability to work together on infrastructure, energy, transportation, research, and development at the state level will cultivate the long-term success of the industry for generations to come. Coordination among our stakeholders in mining through HB 4227 creates the forum that’s needed to address complex challenges from legacy costs to regulation and taxation. Understanding that we can have 21st century mining in Michigan while protecting our environment is key to moving this bill forward. Today that discussion was formally started in committee and I’m pleased with the amount of positive feedback and support my office has received.”

With Cleveland Cliffs’ recent state of the company address in Marquette this month, which discussed the possible reopening of the Empire Mine, Cambensy’s introduction of the bill is timely.

“While we cannot control the global market, we can create a climate that encourages a responsible, sustainable mining industry, so that we are ready when a window of opportunity opens,” Cambensy said. “In Michigan, sound state policies that promote investment while protecting our environment will help Michigan avoid missed opportunities in the future.”

Since Cambensy’s bill was introduced, it has generated a tremendous amount of support from community leaders and other stakeholders. Matt Johnson of Eagle Mine; Chad Korpi, Dan Ruokolainen and Michael Grondz of United Steelworkers Local 4950; Ryan Underwood and Mike Gregory of United Steelworkers Local 4974; and NICE Superintendent Bryan DeAugustine traveled down to Lansing from the Upper Peninsula to testify in support of the bill. Patrick Bloom of Cleveland Cliffs; Steve Claywell of Building Trades; and Dr. Stephen Kesler, Geologist and Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan, also testified in favor of Cambensy’s bill.