Environmental Working Group Applauds House Passage of Landmark Mining Reform Legislation
WASHINGTON - Environmental Working Group (EWG) Public Lands Senior Analyst Dusty Horwitt applauded today's vote in the House supporting landmark reform of the nation's antiquated mining law, first put on the books when by Ulysses S. Grant was President in 1872.
“With a global land rush for minerals threatening our national parks and western water supplies, this bill could not have come at a better time," said Horwitt. "Rep. Rahall and others deserve credit for acting to update our antiquated mining law.
“Our research shows that mining claims in the West increased more than 80 percent between January 2003 and July 2007. The mining bill would give land managers the authority to balance mining with other resources such as parks and water supplies just as they can with oil and gas drilling,” said Horwitt.
EWG's findings on threats to parks and national monuments helped spark an amendment to the bill from Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Jay Inslee (D-WA) that would increase protections for these treasured lands. The bill would also place off-limits to new mining claims land inside Forest Service Roadless Areas and other protected places.
The measure, the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007, would require mining companies to pay a royalty just like every other extractive industry operating on federal land. The funds would be used to help clean up abandoned mines and assist communities affected by mining's boom and bust cycle.
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EWG is a not-for-profit research organization that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment. EWG's work on mining can be viewed at http://www.ewg.org/featured/5