Washington, D.C. — This week marks the anniversary of the General Mining Act of 1872 being signed into law. Today, leaders in the U.S. House and Senate are using the opportunity to take action to reform the law governing the extraction of hardrock minerals from national public lands. The current law does not require mining companies to pay any royalties to U.S. taxpayers or to post bonds to cover cleanup costs—both of which are required for oil, gas, and coal mining on public lands and waters. The law also doesn’t protect environmentally and culturally sensitive places from mining. In response, Christy Goldfuss, senior vice president for Energy and Environment Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
In 2019, no one—especially no foreign-owned mining companies—should be able to stake claims and mine for minerals on public lands without paying a dime to the U.S. taxpayers that own these resources. Leaks and spills from industrial mining operations have created a legacy of toxic pollution that poisons rivers, contaminates drinking water, and leaves communities holding the bag on cleanup costs. It’s encouraging to see leaders in both houses of Congress take much-needed action to reform this antiquated and harmful law.
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