Mining Measure Six Feet Under
(WASHINGTON, Dec. 14) — Reps. Richard Pombo (R-CA) and Jim Gibbons (R-NV) have pulled mining legislation from the House budget bill that could have sold off 350 million acres of American public lands. The measure faced widespread criticism ranging from elected officials in both parties to hunters and anglers.
An Environmental Working Group (EWG) analysis showed that national parks, forests, wilderness areas and other natural treasures were at risk from this proposal. The analysis, available at www.ewg.org/reports/dirtcheap, also gave a rundown of the loopholes and ambiguities in the bill that would have allowed real estate developers, foreign corporations or anyone else to purchase the lands.
Gibbons and Pombo tried to avoid total defeat earlier this week by offering modifications to their bill, but they failed to reverse a widely settled public verdict on their proposal.
"This was a bad idea and bad execution," EWG President Ken Cook said. "And you really get the incompetence trifecta after trying to ram something this bad through Congress with no debate, no hearings and no regard for the legislative process. This is the fate this legislation deserves."
EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C., that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment. The group's research on public land issues is available at http://www.ewg.org/issues/siteindex/issues.php?issueid=5020.