Statement of Earthworks Policy Director Lauren Pagel
Prior to testifying before the Energy and Minerals Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee
June 13, 2013
“Mining in America: The Administration’s Use of Claim Maintenance Fees and Cleanup of Abandoned Mine Lands”
“The House Energy and Minerals Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee is shining a welcome spotlight on the 1872 Mining Law. It’s outrageous that the 1872 Mining Law gives mining companies all the power while taxpayers have none.
500,000 abandoned hardrock mines litter the American landscape. Unlike coal mining, hardrock mining companies pay no mine reclamation fee,.
The one fee they do pay, a $140 to hold a mining claim on federal public lands, funds the enforcement of mining oversight on public lands.
So if this hearing is about directing extra mining claim holding fee revenue to help pay America’s $50 billion abandoned mine cleanup bill, we heartily approve.
But we didn't elect this Congress to make it easier for mining companies to pollute special places like the Grand Canyon. Enough is enough. It's time to make this 140-year-old law history."