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

Jan 27, 2009

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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