January  17, 2017


Dear Chairman  Murkowski  and Ranking Member  Cantwell:

American Exploration & Mining Association (AEMA) strongly supports the confirmation of Congressman Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Department of the Interior. As a fifth generation Montanan representing a state with a large portion of federal public lands, Congressman Zinke understands the importance of Congress’ mandate to manage those lands for multiple-use and how the Interior Department impacts rural communities and economic growth on a daily basis.

AEMA (formerly Northwest Mining Association) is a 122-year old, 2,000 member national association representing the minerals industry with members residing  in 42 U.S. states. AEMA  is the recognized national voice for exploration, the junior mining sector, and maintaining access to public lands, and represents the entire mining life cycle, from exploration to reclamation and  closure. Our broad-based membership includes many small miners and exploration geologists as well as junior and large mining companies, engineering, equipment manufacturing, technical services, and sales of equipment and supplies. More than 80% of our members are small    businesses  or work for small businesses.  Most  of our members  are individual  citizens.

Congressman  Zinke  understands that mining plays a critical role in America’s  economy  as it is   the beginning of the supply chain for manufacturing. A secure domestic source of minerals is important  to high paying job creation, national defense and economic  growth.  Congress  recognized that federal public lands in the West are an important source of strategic and critical minerals when, in enacting the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, it declared that “the public lands be managed in a manner which recognizes the Nation’s need for domestic sources of minerals, food, timber, and fiber from the public lands including implementation of the Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970 as it pertains to the public lands.” Fulfilling this mandate requires reasonable  access, security  of tenure and  a predictable  and efficient  permitting process.

Congressman Zinke also understands, as President Theodore Roosevelt understood, that conservation means development as much as it means protection. He can restore much-needed balance to federal land management and navigate the complex issues facing the Department of the Interior. He is a strong leader who should be quickly confirmed as our next Secretary of the Interior. He is the right man for the job.

Thank you for considering our position on this important,appointment.

Yours truly,

Laura Skaer, AEMA Executive Director

Downloadable PDF: AEMA Writes Letter in Support of Congressman Ryan Zinke