Washington, D.C. – During a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on minerals in the United States that are critical to our economy and national security, U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) spoke about Idaho’s significant contributions to mining and the faults in our current permitting process that need reform. President and CEO of Midas Gold Idaho, Laurel Sayer, was a witness at the hearing and answered questions from the Senate panel on her experience with the Stibnite Gold Project in Valley County, Idaho.
Discussing the permitting process and onerous restrictions that have delayed the Stibnite Gold Project in Idaho, Senator Risch said: “This is not a poor person’s sport. Trying to do this in America today takes a tremendous amount of capital assets and not only does it take that but it takes a Board of Directors and Officers who will stick with something like this because it is demoralizing. All of us who have worked in this recognize the desperate need for streamlining. There's nobody trying to degrade the environment. There's nobody more committed to the environment than the people of Valley County who are trying to promote this. All of us value our mountains and streams greatly. Valley County is probably one of the prettiest places in America and the people who live there really value that tremendously.”
In her prepared remarks, Laurel Sayer stated that, “Future employment of Idahoans and environmental restoration hinges in the balance with each passing day while our Project is undergoing environmental review. And to reiterate for one last time, I do not advocate overlooking any required legal element of environmental review or reducing standards. Rather, environmental review and permitting can always be more efficient, which is what we in the mining industry believe Congress intended in the first place through its environmental laws.”
For a transcript of Risch’s remarks, read below. Or click here to watch the video.
"In Idaho, we take this very seriously. Mining is an extremely important industry for Idaho. Let me tell you about the Great Seal of the state of Idaho; there are two people depicted on it. The left is a woman who represents agriculture and justice and education and a number of other things. Featured prominently in the middle is our mountains and streams, which we cherish deeply. And on the right hand side is a man who is featured in the same stature as others. He carries a shovel and a pick. That tells you how important this is to the great state of Idaho. And our development was closely tied to mining; indeed we had one governor assassinated as the result of a mining dispute. Mining has played a prominent role in [our state].
"I hope you listened carefully to what Ms. Sayer's was saying about trying to permit this mine inValley County . She is ably supported by Michael Bogart who is sitting behind her. Michael was general counsel to one of the best governors that Idaho ever had and he had a distinguished career here in Washington D.C. also. Thank you for what you do.
"I think probably one thing that ought to come to everyone's mind here after listening to what Ms. Sayers said is, this is not a poor person's sport. Trying to do this in America today takes a tremendous amount of capital assets and not only does it take that but it takes a Board of Directors and Officers who will stick with something like this because it is demoralizing, those of us who practice law represented a number of individuals trying to do this in Idaho. We have legacy sites, we have new sites, and to try to do it you lose a lot of sleep at night.
"I want to assure Mr. Mintzes that although all of us who have worked in this recognize and desperately need streamlining, there’s nobody trying to degrade the environment. There's nobody more committed to the environment than the people of Valley County who are trying to promote this. All of us value our mountains and streams greatly. Valley County is probably one of the prettiest places in America and the people who live there really value that tremendously.
"I can also assure you that in Idaho, we have an umbrella organization called the Idaho Conservation League and they are going to look over these peoples' shoulders very carefully, and I know this is going to be very hard for you to believe coming from Washington D.C., but they actually know Idaho better than you do. They are going to very carefully monitor this, they have been so far. I think the project is to be commended for keeping them in the loop as much as they have."