The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Mining bill passes Michigan house


May 23, 2019


LANSING — A bill to create a committee to advise on mining regulations in the state recently passed the Michigan House of Representatives.

The bill to establish the Committee of Michigan’s Mining Future passed the House 107-1 on May 16.

“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,” state Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette, said in a news 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.”

Rep. Steven Johnson — a Republican who represents the 72nd District near Grand Rapids downstate — cast the lone no vote against the bill, according to

If the bill becomes law, the committee would be “Responsible for making advisory legislative and policy recommendations to strengthen and develop sustainable mining practices in Michigan while protecting the environment,” according to Cambensy’s news release.

According to Cambensy, the 15-person committee would include representatives from mining operations, local governments, environmental non-profits, the state’s tribes, the United Steelworker’s Union. It would also include officials from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Other representatives who represent the Upper Peninsula also praised the legislation; including Rep. Greg Markkanen, who represents Gogebic County and the rest of the 110th District.

“Our core mining industry has been hampered by a lack of coordination among stakeholders, regulators and communities, and I look forward to the implementation of a committee to put an end to those roadblocks,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “This advisory committee would help us bridge the gap and bring more quality jobs to our communities.”

With the passage in the House, the legislation moved to the state senate. Cambensy was optimistic about its chances to be signed into law.

“The bill will move now onto the Senate, where we can expect to see similar support,” Cambensy said. “With the approval of the administration, I’m confident there’s a clear path forward in passing the bill. I’m excited to get this done for my district.”

The Senate’s Natural Resources Committee heard testimony on the legislation Wednesday.

“This is an important step in helping Michigan — and especially the Upper Peninsula — to bolster its mining industry, encouraging it to thrive, create jobs and protect our treasured natural resources for years to come,” said Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, who chairs the comittee. “There is broad, bipartisan support for this effort, and I am pleased we can work together to support this historic and important industry in our state.”

McBroom, who represents Gogebic and Ontonagon counties as part of his 38th Senate district, said the measure will now head toward the full Senate.


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