Regulating Hard-rock Mining

  • May 16, 2007
  • By Jane Danowitz

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It was not a particularly auspicious year. Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting, the inventor of the telegraph died, and the Great Boston Fire destroyed much of that city. And President Ulysses S. Grant signed the 1872 Mining Act into law.

Boston rebuilt swiftly, women gained the right to vote for president almost 90 years ago and wireless Internet now covers entire cities. But some things haven't changed. Companies that mine for metals can still claim federal land for five dollars or less per acre as they did in the 1870s, avoid paying any royalties, pollute the nation's waterways with mining waste, and walk away with little or no obligation to clean up. Thanks to the 135-year-old mining law, such practices can be perfectly legal -- and are increasing. The time for reform has never been riper.

Read the full article Regulating Hard Rock Mining on the Sacramento Bee Web site.