In addition to submitting comments to the federal government on potential reforms to mining permitting rules and a Sec. 106 exemption for electric vehicle supply equipment, ACRA has been busy tracking several policy developments that could impact the CRM industry.
Stopping a Government Shutdown. Congress needs to pass – and the President needs to sign – funding bills by October 1 to prevent a government shutdown, something most policymakers want to avoid just weeks before the election.
Because Congress has not finished work on any of the appropriations bills that set funding amounts for various federal agencies, Hill leaders are likely to try and pass a stopgap spending deal to fund the government through Dec. 16.
However, there are a few outstanding issues that may complicate things. For one thing, the Biden administration is has asked Congress to provide $47 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations as part of the short-term spending bill; the funds include more military aid to Ukraine, heating and cooling assistance for low-income households, COVID needs, monkeypox response, and disaster aid for communities hit by floods and wildfires. However, it is not clear if Senate Republicans will agree to the additional spending (Democrats will need the votes of at least 10 GOP Senators in order to pass the bill).
Permitting Reform Moves Ahead . . . Maybe? The spending bill also could get knotted up in the debate over permitting reform.
The proposal, which is part of a broader deal to secure Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) vote for the Inflation Reduction Act this summer, would set maximum timelines for permitting reviews, streamline existing environmental permitting processes, and address “excessive litigation delays,” among other things.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said last week that he still plans to advance a permitting reform proposal as part of the stopgap spending bill. However, many House Democrats – including the influential chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) – have come out against the plan, worried that it will curtal public input and environmental review. In addition, at least one Democratic Senator, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), said last Friday that he would oppose the stop-gap funding bill if it includes the permitting reform language.
At this point, it is not clear if there are enough votes to pass the permitting reform bill as part of the government funding bill, and while most observers believe a government shutdown is very unlikely, Congressional leaders will need to sort these issues out before moving forward.
Public Scoping for Bears Ears. The Bureau of Land Management and the USDA Forest Service have announced a series of virtual and in-person scoping meetings as part of the ongoing land use planning process for Bears Ears National Monument. The agencies are looking for public input to help set the parameters and scope for the new resource management plan.
The scoping process comes a few weeks after the state of Utah sued the Biden administration over its restoration of the original boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments, following former President Trump move to reduce protections for them in 2017.
Details on the scoping meetings can be found here.
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