Republicans in the state legislature have apparently decided new mining legislation will be the first effort of the new session. With control of both Houses of the legislature as well as the Governor's office this decision has obvious significance. We hope state leaders of both parties have been watching how inept and destructive their counter-parts in Washington have looked lately and will take this opportunity to try to do a little better.
The contents of the bill are of course important. But because there are members of both parties who share some concerns about those contents perhaps the most important indicator of how this legislature will function is the respect shown – or not shown – for those looking to craft a bipartisan bill that actually protects the environment and allows for responsible mining. Mining may not be the most important issue in this state right now, but how this bill is handled may be.