The clean energy transition should not be built on dirty mining

What's At Stake

We face an existential climate crisis and must move quickly to build the solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and electric vehicles that will power our clean energy transition away from fossil fuels. But this clean energy transition should not be built on dirty mining that hurts communities and the environment. It’s past time to reform our dirty mining laws for a more just and equitable clean energy future and reject false solutions that further weaken mining regulations.

Mining on public lands in the U.S. continues to be governed by the 1872 Mining Law, which fails to provide even basic protections for our shared public lands and the communities that call those lands home. More than a century of reckless mining has poisoned our air, waters, and lands — and has disproportionately impacted Indigenous communities. We must address the shortcomings of the archaic 1872 Mining Law, and we need your help with taking this to the next level. 

Instead of reforming our mining laws, Congress is attempting to pass a disastrous bill that only reinforces an already broken system and makes it worse. The Mining Regulatory Clarity Act would further weaken mining laws, all under the guise of ‘climate action.’ It would allow mining companies to overtake our public lands and block them from being used for things like recreation, conservation, and clean energy—even without a valid mineral claim. We must oppose this handout to the mining industry. 

We can, and must, avoid repeating the mistakes of the fossil fuel era by updating the archaic 1872 mining law and meeting the demand for critical minerals in the most sustainable way possible: by recycling, reusing, and extending the life of materials and products we already have. Research demonstrates the significant potential for recycling to offset demand for newly mined metals for electric vehicle batteries. Effectively recycling end-of-life batteries could reduce global Electric Vehicle (EV) mineral demand 55% for newly mined copper, 25% for lithium, and 35% for cobalt and nickel by 2040. While we understand some mining must occur, it must proceed in the most sustainable way possible with strong environmental and public health protections. The status quo — which has destroyed 40% of headwaters in the western U.S. — is not the answer. 

We need you to urge more of our representatives to  reject false solutions and oppose the Mining Regulatory Clarity Act, so our clean energy transition proceeds in a just and equitable way. Send a letter to your representatives today! 

Emigrant Gulch aerial view looking east from Emigrant Peak.
Emigrant Gulch aerial view looking east from Emigrant Peak. (Photo courtesy of William Campbell)

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