Mining bill passes House

State Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette, speaks in favor of HB 4227 on the House floor at the Capitol in Lansing Thursday. (Photo courtesy of House Democrats)

LANSING — State Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette, introduced House Bill 4227 in February to create the Committee on Michigan’s Mining Future, which would be responsible for making advisory legislative and policy recommendations to strengthen and develop sustainable mining practices in Michigan while protecting the environment.

On Thursday, the Michigan House passed the measure with significant bipartisan support in a vote of 107-1.

“Today my bill to create a committee on Michigan’s mining future had near-unanimous support on the House floor. Work on this bill began in 2015 when it was announced that the Empire Mine would be idled,” Cambensy said in a press release. “Elected officials, labor and industry leaders in Marquette County knew we needed to take a long-term look at the future of mining in our state, and come up with legislative policies to help alleviate the bust and boom cycles in the industry. The bill will now move onto the Senate, where we expect to see similar support.”

The committee would be comprised of 15 members with governor-appointed representatives from various mining operations, local governments, environmental non-profit organizations, Native American tribes and the United Steelworkers Union.

The committee would also include officials from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.