Vote Wednesday, October 31
Published: October 29, 2007
By: Lauren Pagel
The antiquated General Mining Law of 1872 is one of the last remaining dinosaurs of the old public land giveaways. Although it was enacted 135 years ago when Ulysses S. Grant was President, it still governs hardrock mining on federal lands today. It allows foreign and domestic companies to take valuable minerals from public lands without paying any royalties, and it still allows public land to be purchased at the 1872 price of less than $5.00 an acre.
The 1872 Mining Law contains no environmental provisions, allowing hardrock mines to wreak havoc on western water supplies, wildlife and landscapes. Mining has polluted 40 percent of the headwaters of Western watersheds, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
To address these issues and others, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Chairman Costa (D-CA) have introduced the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007, HR 2262.