Reforming the U.S. Hardrock Mining Law of 1872: The Price of Inaction

The nation's hardrock mining industry owes an enormous debt to President Ulysses S. Grant. For more than a century it has operated under a law he signed in 1872 which now allows companies to extract billions of dollars worth of precious metals, pay no royalties and frequently avoid liability for environmental damage. At the same time, the industry receives millions of dollars in tax breaks, and taxpayers are left with huge costs for repairing environmental damage and lost federal revenue of an estimated $160 million annually. This giveaway continues in the face of the current fiscal crisis, and the 110th Congress failed to address the problem.

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Andy Fisher

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Jane Danowitz

Senior Officer, Environment

Jane Danowitz joined Pew in 2002 as a senior officer responsible for the U.S. public lands protection program, which seeks to preserve America's wilderness areas and undeveloped national forests through federal legislation and regulations. Danowitz also directs the Pew Campaign for Responsible Mining, a coalition effort to reform the 1872 Mining Law, a frontier-era statute that still governs the mining of gold, uranium and other hard-rock metals on public lands in the West.Danowitz has more than three decades of experience in public interest education and advocacy at the federal level. Before joining Pew, she served as director of the Heritage Forests Campaign, a Pew-funded initiative to uphold the Roadless Area Conservation Rule protecting undeveloped national forests. She also was executive director of Americans for Our Heritage and Recreation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing funding for parks and conservation. In addition, she has significant experience in politics and public affairs, having served as vice president of Ogilvy Worldwide, as director of the bipartisan Women's Campaign Fund and as an aide in municipal government and on Capitol Hill.Danowitz holds a bachelor's degree in American history from Cornell University and a J.D. from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America.