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H.R. 3240: National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2021

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on May 14, 2021.

National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2021

This bill sets forth environmental review requirements for the mine permitting process and limits the review to 30 months.

Under the bill, projects that provide minerals vital to job creation, energy infrastructure, coastal resilience and restoration, economic competitiveness, and national security must be considered to be infrastructure projects as described in Executive Order 13807, titled Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects and dated August 15, 2017.This order directed agencies to ensure that the environmental review and permitting process for infrastructure is coordinated, predictable, and transparent.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)or the Forest Service must appoint a project lead for the mine permitting process to coordinate with other agencies to ensure that the agencies minimize delays, set and adhere to timelines for completion of the permitting process, set clear permitting goals, and track progress against goals. The project lead must also determine the amount of financial assurance required for reclamation of a mineral exploration or mining site.

The bill considers the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969to be satisfied if the BLM or the Forest Service determines that the agency issuing the permit will address specified factors, such as environmental impacts of the permit or alternatives to issuance of the permit.

Additionally, the bill exempts projects on National Forest System land from regulations that prohibit timber tree cutting and road construction in areas without roads.