In yet another example of “green” gone wrong, the Biden administration cried “climate change” once again and took an infuriating step closer to a 20-year ban on mining in South Dakota.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the USDA Forest Service issued a joint statement on Friday, in which the agencies said they would consider withdrawing for two decades from 20,574 acres in the Black Hills National Forest “to protect cultural and natural resources in the Pactola Reservoir – Rapid Creek Watershed, including drinking water for Rapid City and Ellsworth Air Force Base, from the adverse impacts of mineral exploration and development.”
“In response to concerns about potential impacts of mining on the area’s natural resources and municipal water supply, the administration is initiating consideration of a 20-year withdrawal of this critical watershed on national forest system lands from location, entry, appropriation, and disposal under the mining laws and the mineral and geothermal leasing laws, subject to valid existing rights,” the statement reads.
Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.,) said such a move would “hamstring” America.
As the chairman of the House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Subcommittee, Stauber blasted the “anti-mining Biden Administration” for the proposal.
“Whether it’s northern Minnesota, southern Arizona, Alaska, or now South Dakota, these sorts of land restrictions from the anti-mining Biden Administration hamstring domestic development of minerals we need for national defense, energy technology, and everyday life,” he told Fox News Digital (FND).
“We need to be using our resources we have here with our workforce,” he stated, “not taking them offline.”
According to the statement from the agencies, “The USDA Forest Service submitted the withdrawal application to the BLM, which processes withdrawal applications on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior.”
“The BLM’s acceptance of the application and publication of a notice in the Federal Register in the coming days will initiate a two-year segregation that will prohibit the location of new mining claims and the issuance of new federal mineral leases within 20,574 acres within the Pactola Reservoir – Rapid Creek Watershed,” it continues. “During this time, the BLM and the Forest Service will seek public comment and conduct a science-based environmental analysis to evaluate the potential impacts of mining on the important natural and cultural resources of the watershed.”
The minerals found in the area include gold, copper, and silver, according to FND, which reports, “several companies have expressed interest in conducting exploratory drilling in the area for lithium, another key component for electric vehicle batteries, and uranium which is vital for zero-emissions nuclear power.”
One company that is currently in the midst of a multi-year approval process for a project in the area that would look for gold is the Minneapolis-based F3 Gold mining company.
The agencies’ announcement comes “months after the Forest Service issued a draft decision allowing the company to explore across 3 acres and build some infrastructure under several restrictions after an extensive environmental review,” according to FND.
“F3 Gold has already conducted early stage exploration in the Black Hills,” F3 Gold President Rob Bergmann wrote. “Based on the results of this early work F3 Gold applied to the US Forest Service for a permit to conduct exploratory drilling in the Jenny Gulch area.”
In a November 2020 blog, Bermann vowed that the Jenny Gulch project “will leave no trace.”
“The cumulative impact area of our entire proposed drilling program is less than 5 acres of national forest land, out of 1.2 million acres of Black Hills National Forest!” he explained.
“Our program will not use any ground or surface water for drilling. Instead we will be sourcing water from municipal sources,” Bergmann wrote. “Also, we will be using catch basins to settle out cuttings and recycle the water to minimize water use and prevent ground discharge of water. The drilling process itself is also very natural, using only steel pipe, a diamond core drill bit, biodegradable lubricants and clay. Once completed, our program will leave no trace.”
“Gold is more than a status symbol,” he wrote in July 2020.
“Gold is an important material that multiple industries rely on and it continues to be a critical mineral for technology and innovation,” he continued. “On top of its rarity, gold’s unique physical properties enhance its material value and significance beyond that of a currency or investment-based asset. Gold is a key ingredient in nearly all of the critical technology sectors in the U.S. economy.”
Still, local environmental groups are prioritizing “climate change” of the needs of our nation.
“While we agree that renewable energy is key to fighting climate change, we do not think that the Black Hills are a good location for new large-scale mines,” the Black Hills Clean Water Alliance states on its website. “And mining is a major contributor to carbon emissions and climate change. The Black Hills are ecologically, culturally, and historically unique and are the treaty homelands of the Lakota people.”
In response to the agencies’ announcement, the groups wrote, “According to our attorney, no one could mine under this withdrawal unless they have already proved that there are economically viable minerals on their claims. This means the F3 Jenny Gulch project, where they have not completed exploration, could not be mined.”
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