Sending Office: Honorable Don Young
Support Amendment #58
I urge you to support my Amendment #58 to H.R. 6147, Interior-Environment Division A, which protects placer mining operations in Alaska. This amendment, originally included in FY 2017 Appropriations, would prohibit funds from being
used by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to change its existing placer mining plans of operation with regard to re-vegetation.
The Fortymile Mining District, a remote region of the Alaskan Eastern Interior is home to small, family owned placer mining operations. These operations have been ongoing for over 120 years, and the technology used in placer mining
has allowed miners to minimize their impacts on the surrounding environment and riparian areas.
Fortymile is one of the few places left in the United States where placer mining is still being conducted as a way-of-life, and many Eastern Interior placer miners work as mom and pop shops. Placer mining is an important industry
in Alaska which contributes to the growth of rural communities by providing hundreds of jobs.
The BLM Fortymile Resource Management Plan (Fortymile Plan), finalized in the last days of the previous administration, upended decades of successful land management in the Fortymile Planning Area. The Fortymile Plan imposed an
overly complex regulatory framework on small-scale placer mining operations, as part of an effort to discourage such activity in the area. The Fortymile miners previously agreed to environmental remediation standards, and under the new Plan they are expected
to reclaim land that they have not mined and mitigate in ways they did not agree to in their approved operation plans. They are expected to remediate land that was impacted by placer mining over the past 100 years, which adds to their financial burden and
makes it economically impractical for miners to continue their operations.
The Fortymile Plan is unnecessary and over burdensome to small mining operations, and has already caused disruptions in the region. The miners want to be good stewards and reclaim the land they have mined and impacted. However,
they should not be held to an unreasonable standard for remediation that are not required of other types of mining operations.
If you have any questions, please contact Martha Newell on my staff (firstname.lastname@example.org; x5-5765).
Congressman for All Alaska
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