US says national security demands easier mining rules

June 04, 2019 - 3:59 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration wants to ease rules on mining and prospecting on federal lands — and even offshore — in the name of national security.

The Commerce Department recommended sweeping changes Tuesday in mining policies. President Donald Trump had asked for the proposals, saying the U.S. needs more mining to reduce imports of critical minerals.

Those are nearly three dozen minerals, including uranium, that the administration calls crucial to national security.

The proposals come as some fear that trade tensions with China that could hit U.S. imports of key minerals.

Recommendations include easing permitting, stepping up consideration of mining in the oceans, and prioritizing national security when it comes to mining public lands.

House Natural Resources Chairman Raul Grijalva says the administration is handing over "treasured places" to industry.