Michigan House votes to loosen mining permit laws

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Mining companies would be able to modify onsite facilities without an environmental permit amendment under legislation that has passed the Michigan House.

Lawmakers voted 63-45 on Tuesday to advance the bill to grant companies more flexibility in moving and adjusting their mining sites and buildings. The proposed change would allow mining companies to modify the facilities provided they give Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality a 30-day notice and if the changes don't add environmental risk.

Supporters say the potential law, part of a three-bill Senate package, would loosen up what they describe as cumbersome regulations. Critics say the language gives these businesses too much leeway in their operations and would threaten the environment.

The bills will head to Gov. Rick Snyder once the Senate takes a final vote.

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