Republicans pass bill to speed up environmental reviews

Republicans passed a bill on Wednesday which would streamline and speed up environmental review processes for gold, silver copper, and urainum projects on Federal land.

The measure would set time limits on reviews – 30 months – and two-month time-frames for mounting legal challenges. US officials would also be allowed to waive Federal reviews, at their discretion, and replace them with state ones.

The Republican-dominated House approved the legislation 246:178, with 15 supportive democrats and 100% support from Repbulicans, the Associated Press reports.

Proponents say the legislation would create more jobs and boost the economy.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev. – the bill's sponsor and former President of the Nevada Mining Association – told the AP that the inefficient and overly-bureaucratic system was "threatening" economic recovery "jeopardizing" national security.

Meanwhile, the White House has voiced its opposition to bill HR 761 saying it would "undermine and remove" important environmental safeguards, the AP writes.

Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., an opponent, says 82% of mining projects are approved within three years.

While bill HR761 may have cleared the House hurdle, it will likely die in Senate.