Group wants state to create mining license plates

Group wants state to create mining license plates

A pro-mining group that sponsors an annual contest for Idaho public school students titled “If it ain’t farmed, it’s got to be mined” is trying to get state lawmakers to support creation of a mining license plate to pay for its activities.

Natural Resource Education Outreach, a non-profit group, has enlisted Rep. Mary Lou Shepherd, D-Wallace, to sponsor legislation next year that would create the special mining-themed license plate.

Idaho already has more than two dozen “specialty” license plates, whose sales benefit various groups, causes and Idaho universities and colleges. Images range from bluebirds to potatoes to snowmobiles. Plates honor Appaloosa horses, the Boy Scouts and explorers Lewis and Clark.

Shepherd, whose four-county northern Idaho district was historically dominated by mining, has put out a call for Idaho residents to help design the proposed mining plate, and says she wants a catchy three- or four-word slogan to communicate what mining means to the state.

Once a pillar of the state’s economy, mining has waned in the last three decades with the shutdown of operations including the Bunker Hill silver and lead mine. Employment has slipped annually since 1999, according to the Idaho Mining Association’s Web site.

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