Federal Government Studies Permitting Times for Hardrock Mining Operations

In January 2016, the United States General Accountability Office released the results of a study which analyzed how much time it takes federal agencies to approve hardrock mining operations on public land.

Between 2010 and 2014, the GAO studied how much time the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service needed to approve 68 different plans of operation under the Mining Law of 1872. The GAO found that it took the agencies anywhere from one month to 11 years to approve projects, with an average time of two years. The GAO recommended that BLM and USFS take actions to speed and improve the mine review process.

Notably, the GAO’s results are consistent with past analyses by the HTHG firm, which found an average approval time of about two years for projects approved with an Environmental Assessment, and approximately double that time for projects warranting the more time-intensive Environmental Impact Statement.

The GAO’s study can be found at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-165.

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Categories: Land Use, Mining