The Michigan House inching closer to approving legislation that would allow a state-owned company to operate an underground mine for the first time in more than a century, according to an Associated Press report.
The Michigan House voted 22-7 Monday night to approve the bill that would provide $400 million in tax credits to the private company and allow the state to build the first underground mine in U.S. history, which would also create a public safety benefit.
Rick Snyder, who was not in attendance, said in a statement that he is pleased to see that this important and necessary legislation is on the desk of Gov.
The bill provides the necessary support for the mining industry and ensures that this once-in-a-generation opportunity is a reality for Michigan residents,” Snyder said.
A group of six Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the bill.
It’s not going to help Michigan,” Irwin said.
Scott Tipton, R, Grand Rapids, and Paul Thomsen, R – Holland, said they supported the bill for several reasons.
“There’s a need to have a safety valve in the state and the bill provides it,” Thomsengs said.
Tipton said he would vote against the bill and was hopeful the bill would be defeated.
“I want to make sure we get it passed,” he said.
Thomsing said he was disappointed that he voted against the legislation.
Tippetts’ proposal would allow the public to own and operate an industrial mine.
The company has said it will not seek approval from the state for the mine, but said it would use state incentives to make it a reality.
The state already has approved a plan by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to lease land to a private company to build an underground mining operation.
The bill also requires that the mine be located underground and not on the surface.
Under the bill, the state would have to pay a public utility $1 million to have the mine built and operate.
A bill to give the state $150 million in new funding to help pay for the state’s underground mining program is pending in the House.