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The Latest: Interior secretary touts Trump NEPA reform in NV

July 23, 2019

ELKO, Nev. (AP) — The Latest on U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s visit to northern Nevada (all times local, PDT):

2:55 p.m.

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt toured a Nevada gold mine’s expansion project to tout the Trump administration’s streamlining of environmental regulations to expedite permitting for development on federal lands.

Bernhardt said Tuesday streamlining of the National Environmental Policy Act is one of the reasons the newly formed Nevada Gold Mines committed to the expansion at the Cortez Mine.

Greg Walker, executive managing director of the company formed by the recent joint venture between Barrick Gold and Newmont Goldcorp, said it’s a significant improvement from the old process that added 18 months to the completion of environmental impact statements.

One of President Trump’s executive orders requires such reviews be completed within a year.

Conservationists say the expedited reviews short-circuit federal regulations that have protected fish and wildlife for a half-century.

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1:45 p.m.

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt says some of the Bureau of Land Management’s workers are likely to end up in Elko as part of the agency’s plans to move its headquarters to Colorado next year.

The department said in announcing the organization last week about 300 BLM employees currently located in Washington D.C. would end up at the new headquarters in Grand Junction. It said about 50 would relocate to Nevada.

Bernhardt said during a stop in Elko Tuesday he’ll leave it up to BLM state directors to place the jobs. But he told the Elko Free Press the purpose of the move is to put more resources in field offices to better streamline permitting processes for things like mining and livestock grazing.

He says Nevada is the leader in U.S. mining programs so it might make sense to put the experts there.

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Information from: Elko Daily Free Press, http://www.elkodaily.com

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