Audio Briefing: Report Release — New Mining Claims Encroaching on Western Cities and Towns

On March 11, the Pew Campaign for Responsible Mining hosted a telebriefing with Environmental Working Group to release a new report that shows a boom of new mining claims encroaching on western communities, facilitated by outdated provisions of the nation's 1872 Mining Law. Areas outside of some of the West's largest metro areas, as well as foothill communities of the Rocky Mountain and Sierra Nevada West, are among those most impacted by new mining claims.

The report release comes the day before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee conducts its second hearing this year on legislation to modernize the nation's frontier-era mining law. It is expected to produce a reform bill next month. A bipartisan reform package was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last fall.

Wednesday's Senate hearing will focus on the nearly half a million gold, uranium and other "hardrock" mines that have been abandoned. A number of these mines have been created and abandoned in the modern era, causing water contamination and other toxic consequences across the West. Witnesses will include Navajo Nation and State of New Mexico leadership as well as former Congressman Pat Williams of Montana.