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New Study by Pew: Mining Companies Take $1 Billion per Year From Public Lands Without Compensation

1 min. read

The Pew Environment Group is out with a new report that's definitely worth checking out.  Here's an excerpt:

As the Obama administration develops its final proposal to protect the Grand Canyon from hardrock mining, other national parks, monuments, forests and historic sites are also under threat from thousands of mining claims, many of them staked during the past five years. These incomparable places could be at risk because of the outdated 1872 Mining Law that puts prospecting ahead of other activities on most of America’s public lands.
Mining claims in and around these sites and thousands more on other public lands can be legally staked  under the 1872 Mining Law. Congress has repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempted to modernize this statute, despite the fact that even industry experts say it should be updated. But until the law is brought up-to-date, few good options exist for protecting such places as the Grand Canyon from hardrock mining, except for a time-limited “withdrawal process,” which the Obama administration is currently considering.  This report provides 10 examples of the lands at risk if Congress and the administration fail to act.

As if that's not bad enough, the reports also finds that "preferential treatment [under the 1872 Mining Law] gives mining interests the legal right to take what the government estimates is at least $1 billion worth of metals each year from publicly owned property without compensating taxpayers or paying a fair share of the cleanup costs for abandoned mines." Yet another example of taxpayer-funded corporate welfare to dirty energy interests and powerful corporations.