Archived Project

Campaign for Responsible Mining

our goals

The Pew Campaign for Responsible Mining works with a diverse group of stakeholders to reclaim our public lands for future generations. Its goals for 1872 mining law reform include the following:

  • Protect national parks, forests and watersheds. Not all public land is appropriate for mineral extraction. Mining should not be allowed in or around national parks and monuments, national forest roadless areas or where it threatens rivers and streams, watersheds or other valuable fish and wildlife habitat.
  • Compensate taxpayers. Metal mining’s special entitlement to take gold, uranium and other metals from public land at minimal cost should be replaced with a system of royalty payments comparable to those currently charged to extract oil, gas and coal from public lands. Royalty revenues should fund the cleanup of abandoned mines.
  • Set strong health, environmental and cleanup standards. Metal mining has emitted more toxic pollutants than any other industry and has contributed to the contamination of more than 40 percent of western watersheds.  The industry should be required to meet the same environmental and cleanup standards as other sectors and should help pay for the legacy of abandoned mines.
  • End the “giveaway” of public land. The current system gives any individual or corporation–including those that are foreign-owned–the right to file claims and take title to public land. The “forced sale” or patenting provisions of the Mining Law should be stricken.
  • Respect local communities. Mining can have a tremendous impact on the economy and environment of towns, cities and counties. State and local officials and the communities they represent should have a voice.

Campaign Progress

  • Grand Canyon Gets Reprieve from New Uranium Claims Added: Jul. 20, 2009

    Since 2003, the number of claims for uranium just outside the Grand Canyon has risen from less than 100 to more than 6,500. But in 2009, with support from the Pew Environment Group and its allies, and leadership from House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Chair Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued a two-year “time out” on new mining claims on 1 million acres of public lands adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park. An administrative process is currently underway that will determine whether this moratorium on new claims around the park’s borders will be extended for twenty years.