• Court Denies Environmental Groups’ Bid to Invalidate Mining Regulations and Obstruct Future Mining Projects

Court Denies Environmental Groups’ Bid to Invalidate Mining Regulations and Obstruct Future Mining Projects

WASHINGTON D.C. – In a victory for the mining industry, today the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a long-awaited decision in Earthworks vs. Department of Interior (DOI) that reaffirms important rights of miners to explore and operate on federal lands pursuant to the Mining Law; the National Mining Association (NMA) intervened in the case on behalf of DOI.

In the case, a coalition of environmental groups challenged two DOI regulations, asserting that the regulations improperly interpreted the Mining Law. The environmental groups sought to invalidate regulations from 2003 and 2008, which would have eroded necessary business certainty, upending the claim approval process and preventing access to lands needed for the support facilities necessary to operate a mine. The court gave short shrift to the environmentalists’ arguments and upheld the DOI regulations as consistent with past practice and reasonable interpretations of the Mining Law.

“The certainty provided by this decision comes at a critically important time for our country,” said Rich Nolan, NMA President and CEO.  “The pandemic has exposed the dangers of our increasingly import-dependent supply chain – dependence that has doubled over the past two decades even though we have significant mineral deposits within our borders. This ruling is an important signal to those seeking to further obstruct responsible domestic mining projects.”

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