(Photo credit should read GOU YIGE/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican-controlled House has approved a bill to speed up government review of gold, copper, silver and uranium mining on federal land.
The bill, approved 246-178, makes it harder for opponents to mount legal challenges against new ventures and sets a 30-month timeline for environmental reviews.
Supporters say the bill would help create jobs by cutting back waiting periods for new "hardrock" mining projects that can stretch up to 10 years. The bill would give U.S. officials discretion to waive federal environmental reviews and accept state reviews instead. It also sets a 60-day limit to file legal challenges.
Opponents called the bill a giveaway to the mining industry. The Obama administration said it would "undermine and remove" important environmental safeguards. The bill is expected to die in the Democratic-run Senate.