Unlike other free-roaming animals that live on our western landscapes, wild horses are confined to less than 13% of our public lands.
Hard rock mining has been expanding rapidly in wild horse territory. Precious acres are being impacted, water tables dropping, water quality at risk. Mine traffic is often responsible for roundups.
The only mitigation to the damage to wild horse habitat is an assertion that traffic will “go slow.” BLM has no set speed limit to define “slow.” Traffic moves fast in wild places and wild horses get hit. Then wild horses are considered a safety hazard to the traffic and a roundup makes the top of BLMs list. BLM keeps no official statistics.
Migratory routes are cut off inside HMAs, large areas fenced off, access to water inhibited. BLM does not require mines to provide wells for wildlife and assure water quality and availability. Then wild horses get removed. BLM still does not define critical habitat for wild horses as we lose that critical habitat rapidly.
Our ability to address this massive impact to the limited areas wild horses can legally exist is, in part, impeded by an archaic law. Please join us in supporting reform.
The 1872 Mining Law is still the framework for hardrock mining in the US. This law places mining as a priority over all other interests, lacks protections for water and wildlife, and does not require cleanup of any disastrous consequence.
Managers claim they can not deny mining. No matter how devastating the impact may be, agencies approve projects, requiring anyone trying to protect public resources to engage site-by-site legislation and expensive and drawn out litigation.
Wild Horse Education has joined over 70 organizations in support of H.R 2579, “The Hardrock Leasing and Reclamation Act of 2019.” This bill is currently in the House with 24 cosponsors and sits in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.
From the letter:
“The legacy of the 1872 Mining Law is pervasive, threatening the well-being of our western communities and the scarce drinking water upon which they depend. For example, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, hardrock mining has polluted 40 percent of the headwaters of western watersheds. Hardrock mining releases arsenic, mercury and lead into our communities’ air and waters. In fact, the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory has consistently shown that the hardrock industry releases more toxic chemicals into our air, land and water than any other industry in the nation.”
End the outdated claim and patent system that gives miners unfettered access to nearly all public land in the United States.
Establish a 12.5% royalty on new mining operations–the same amount as oil and gas– and an 8% royalty on existing operations, except for miners with less than $50,000 in mining income.
Require meaningful tribal consultation (similar to Rep. Grijalva’s RESPECT Act (H.R. 2689)).
Eliminate the exalted status that mining currently enjoys on public lands, leveling the playing field with all other uses of public lands–such as grazing, hunting, and energy development–allowing it to be managed through existing land-use planning processes.
Make certain special lands off-limits to hardrock mining, such as wilderness study areas, monuments, and wild and scenic rivers.
Require mining operators to report data on the amount and value of minerals being extracted from public lands.
Establish strong reclamation standards and bonding requirements.
Create a fund to reclaim and restore abandoned mines and areas impacted by mining activities.
To track this bill, and to see if your Representative is a cosponsor, visit: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2579/cosponsors
If your Representative is not a cosponsor please contact them and ask that they add their name to the list. This is important legislation for all of our public lands. Find your Representatives here: http://govtrack.us
You can read the letter sent by over 70 organizations: MININGLAWLETTER
Categories: Wild Horse Education