Changes Sought in 1872 Mining Law as Uranium Claims Explode

Publication: The Colorado Independent

Author: David O. Williams

05/07/2009 - Wednesday was dress-up day on Capitol Hill in Washington, with President Ulysses S. Grant impersonators calling on lawmakers to reform the 1872 mining law the Civil War hero enacted to encourage prospectors to, in the immortal words of Horace Greeley, “Go west, young man.”

The law, according to environmentalists, opened up 350 million acres of public lands in the western United States to virtually unchecked hard-rock mining that doesn’t make sense in the modern era of dwindling natural resources.


Conservation groups have sued to block thousands of uranium-mining claims (with a court decision expected this summer), and the Pew Environment Group is urging the Obama administration to reverse BLM approvals.

“Current federal policy that allows the mining industry to operate next to America’s national icons and against the will of local communities must be changed,” Jane Danowitz, Pew’s U.S. public lands program director, said in a release. “This situation should serve as a wakeup call: it’s time to modernize the nation’s 1872 mining law.”

Read the full article Environmental Group Advocates for New Approach to Fishing Regulations on The Colorado Independent's Web site.

Related Areas of Work

(All Fields are required)