There's an old joke that asks, "Who's buried in Grant's tomb?"
The answer, of course, is President Grant himself (and, google reveals, his wife), but soon they may have some company. The House voted yesterday in favor of legislation that will reform a mining law that's been on the books since Grant's presidency in 1872. The old law is woefully inadequate when it comes to protecting public lands, and too often lets mining companies off the hook for cleanup -- leaving taxpayers to foot the bill.
According to EWG's own Dusty Horwitt,
â€œOur 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,â€
There's a good chance that the Senate's reform bill won't be quite so strong, and President Bush has threatened a veto but appears to be willing to compromise. Hopefully the spirit of the House's bill will stick, because it's time to lay the 1872 mining law to rest.