Roadless Rule exemption passes U.S. House

A strategic minerals bill passed the House Thursday with an amendment brought by Rep. Don Young that would exempt Bokan Mountain from the 2001 Roadless Rule (goo.gl/ZHcuF) (goo.gl/RVJJp).

If signed into law with Young’s amendment, H.R. 4402 the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act would restore a decades-old exemption for certain Alaskan mineralized areas, Young said in a press release.

The rule restricts road construction, road reconstruction and timber harvesting in certain roadless areas on National Forest System lands. The rule was upheld in 2011 (goo.gl/RVJJp).

Proponents of the rule have said it does not stop mining. Opponents say the rule is ambiguous and stymies resource development. Young said his amendment would clear these regulatory uncertainties and delays.

Young the amendment would speed development of a rare earth element mine near Bokan Mountain, Prince of Wales Island. Rare earth element metals are used in high-tech and renewable energy industries.

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