Wednesday, April 8, 2009

US Mining Law Reform is one way to help ensure that our metals come from responsible sources

Ethical Metalsmiths (EM) is closely watching how proposed reforms of the 1872 Mining Law are developing. EM supports the proposed reforms and will be calling on jewelers and metalsmiths to express their support for the changes to the outdated law. In the meantime, you can catch up here on what has been happening.

This post includes portions of two official announcements regarding the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2009 as well as links to additional information about the proposed changes.

Rahall Legislation Brings Antiquated Hardrock Mining Law into the 21st Century

January 27, 2009

CONTACT: Allyson Groff or Blake Androff, 202-226-9019

Washington D.C. - Nearly 137 years to the day after the U.S. House of Representatives began debate on what became the Mining Law of 1872, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV) today reintroduced legislation to reform the antiquated law that has allowed large corporations to extract hardrock minerals from publicly-owned federal lands in the West with no royalties paid to the American people.

"Given our current economic crisis and the empty state of our national Treasury, it is ludicrous to be allowing this outmoded law to continue to exempt these lucrative mining activities from paying a fair return to the American people," Rahall said. "Nobody in their right mind would allow timber, oil, gas, coal or copper to be cut, drilled for, or mined on lands they own without receiving a payment in return for the disposition of their resources. And neither should the United States."

The General Mining Act of 1872 - enacted during a bygone era to promote the exploration and development of the West - permits multi-national conglomerates to stake mining claims on federal lands in the 11 western states and Alaska and to produce valuable hardrock minerals, such as gold, silver, and copper, without paying any royalty to the true owners of this land - the American people. The law contains no mining and reclamation standards, and provides for claimed lands to be sold for as little as $2.50 an acre. In addition, it has left a legacy of poisoned streams, abandoned waste dumps, and maimed landscapes.

READ THE REST: http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&Linktask=view&id=444&Itemid=27

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bingaman Introduces Bill to Update Hardrock Mining Law

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman today introduced legislation aimed at updating mining laws passed well over a century ago.

When the Mining Law was passed in 1872, following the California gold rush, Congress was trying to encourage settlement of the American West. It did this by offering free minerals and land to those who were willing to “go West” and mine. Past efforts to bring this law up to date, to make sure that Americans receive a reasonable return for public resources and to modernize land management requirements, have failed.

Given the economic challenges that our nation currently faces and given concerns about the public health, safety and environmental issues that mining -- and in particular abandoned mine sites -- can raise, Bingaman introduced comprehensive legislation to update the 1872 law.

“Efforts to comprehensively reform the Mining Law have been ongoing literally for decades, but results have thus far been elusive. There is renewed interest on the part of many in the industry and in the environmental community in trying to update this law,” said Bingaman, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

READ THE REST: http://bingaman.senate.gov/news/20090402-02.cfm

ADDITIONAL LINKS:
http://www.ethicalmetalsmiths.org/MiningReform/MiningReformIntro.html
http://www.pewminingreform.org/
http://www.earthworksaction.org/

Please email us with questions: mail@EthicalMetalsmiths.org

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