Yesterday, October 23rd, the House Natural Resources Committee voted to advance the Hardrock Mining Reform Act, an amendment to the extremely outdated laws that have controlled hardrock mining. This Act completely replaces the current laws, an action that was sorely needed in the effort to find some semblance of modern context to venerable legislation.
Today the bill was passed by the House. Now it goes to the Senate. THANK YOU to all of our readers that took action. It is now time to call your Senators and ask they pass this important reform.
The House also voted to advance two bills aimed at protecting miner pensions and health benefits, but we’ll be focusing on the parts of the Act that effect the environment and our public lands. You can read more about the Act in it’s entirety here; https://www.tomudall.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2019-08-05%20Hardrock%20Mining%20Reform%20Act%20of%202019,%20bill%20text.pdf
Or watch the House hearing yourself here https://www.facebook.com/NRDems/videos/536738530487829/?__tn__=-R
For us, the important provisions within the Act are as follows;
The Act provides for abandoned mine cleanup through the “Hardrock Minerals Reclamation Fund”, paid for by royalties and infused by an abandoned mine reclamation fee. This sets aside funding for the safe cleaning and handling of abandoned mineworks, to lesser their impact on the surrounding environment.
The Act ends the public lands giveaways, an antiquated system of claimstaking and patenting. The provisions the Act replaces in this regard are ancient, being penned in the Gold Rush era of the country.
The Act promotes local autonomy over mining, and gives States, political subdivisions, and Indian tribes the authority to petition the Secretary of the Interior to withdraw certain lands from mining. This is a hugely important provision, and may go some way in granting our public lands some measure of protection against avaricious mining interests.
The Act puts in effect a “look before you leap” provision, and directs Interior to conduct a review of areas that may be inappropriate for mining. Again, a provision that could potentially help in mining interests overstepping.
Finally, relevant to our conversation, the Act increases claim maintenance fees. This part of the Act references and specifies a bevy of fees leveled on hardrock mining corporations to bring them in line with similar interests. Another series of provisions that could help the industry be more careful with where it establishes it’s interests, as the only thing that truly speaks to big corporations is money.
Natural Resources Committee voted to advance Chair Raúl M. Grijalva’s mining reform. Today the House passed this important bill. It is time to call your Senators. Find your Senator at http://govtrack.us
Mining and livestock are the greatest threats to wild horse habitat in the West. These are very important issue to “keep them wild!”
For more context about the ramifications of mining interests on our environment, read our article here; https://wildhorseeducation.org/2019/10/15/mining-reform-why-it-matters/
To read about what is happening with livestock you can read here: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2019/10/23/grazing-reform-what-a-wild-horse-advocate-should-understand/
Help keep us in the fight!
Categories: Wild Horse Education