Cambensy mining bill clears Senate Committee

State Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette, at right, is seen testifying in support of HB 4227 before the Senate Committee on Natural Resources in Lansing on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of House Democrats)

LANSING — The Senate Committee on Natural Resources voted unanimously Wednesday to report House Bill 4227 to the full Senate with recommendation that it pass.

Introduced by state Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette, in February, the bill would create the Committee on Michigan’s Mining Future, which would be responsible for making advisory legislative and policy recommendations to strengthen and develop sustainable mining practices in Michigan, according to a press release.

“The overwhelming support and understanding of the importance of mining from my colleagues in both chambers should reassure U.P. residents that Lansing is listening,” Cambensy said. “Knowing the state departments are supportive of my bill to create a committee on Michigan’s mining future, it seems highly likely that the bill will be voted out of the senate and signed by the governor within the next few weeks.”

The unanimous approval by the Senate committee comes quickly after the House approved the bill with wide bipartisan support in a vote of 101-7.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the hard work my office has done over the last few months gathering legislative support for HB 4227 pay off and become law,” said Cambensy. “Our goal was to create an inclusive, transparent and strategic mechanism to look at mining in Michigan for decades to come, while also protecting our environment. I have no doubt that Michigan can lead the way in 21st century mining innovations and practices.”

One example of how Michigan can lead in this field would be to develop a direct reduced iron pellet for modern electric arc furnaces, which are necessary for recycling used steel. In addition, the committee will be able to explore research and advancements in mining such as Michigan Tech’s phosphorous eating bacteria and lithium ion battery recycling center, as well as applications in high-tech medical devices and other technologies.