EARTHWORKS

Important New York Times Op-Ed: Bring 1872 Mining Law Into 21st Century

Bonnie Gestring's avatar
By Bonnie Gestring

January 13, 2012

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Oregon's Chetco River. Photo by Ann Vilesis

The science is in: the antiquated 1872 Mining Law, “has outlived its purpose and its environmental consequences have been severe.”

In a terrific op-ed in the New York Times, fisheries scientists Carol Ann Woody and Robert Hughes, express their deep concern about the impact mining has had on the nation’s dwindling fisheries and the inadequacy of the 1872 Mining Law to regulate modern mining.

With stunning facts and figures, the two scientists describe the tremendous toll to our nation’s rivers and streams, native fish, and public lands, and highlight the risk to important native fish populations in Oregon's Chetco Wild and Scenic River and Montana's Cabinet Mountains Wilderness. 

The op-ed also points to a bill introduced recently by Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, that would:
o require mining companies to pay a royalty equal to what other industries have been paying for decades,
o provide safeguards for clean water and
o give communities and agencies a say about where mining is permitted.

It defies common sense that this law still governs mining today. 

Tagged with: zortman landusky mine, rock creek mine, montanore mine, kensington mine, fisheries scientists, chetco river, 1872 mining law

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