ACRA has urged a Biden administration working group to ensure that permitting processes for mine projects provide consistency, clarity, and certainty, and support the early involvement of cultural resource professionals in the planning process.

The comments come in response to the Interior Department’s Interagency Working Group on Mining, Regulations, Laws and Permitting, announced last May. The group was formed as the administration is looking to boost domestic extraction of minerals needed for electric vehicles, cell phones and other technologies, for which the U.S. is currently reliant on adversarial nations like China.

According to Interior, the working group’s role is to “gather information and develop recommendations for improving Federal hardrock mining regulations, laws, and permitting processes, and is inviting public comments to help inform the efforts of the working group.”

In its public comments, ACRA outlined the elements needed to improve the mine permitting process:

  • Increased funding and capacity for state and Tribal historic preservation offices (SHPOs/THPOs)
  • Ensuring early engagement of, and coordination with, cultural resource management professionals
  • Development of historic contexts for regional mining
  • Ensuring early and effective consultation with Tribes and descendant communities.

You can read ACRA’s comments here.