House Calls for Mining Reform

Congressman Nick Rahall leads new legislation that protects against harmful mineral mining in the West, updates antiquated 130-year old mining law


Sara Tucker, Earthjustice, (202) 667-4500, ext. 202 

New legislation to be introduced today will finally require private mining companies to pay their fair share to take valuable minerals like gold, copper and silver from public lands. Representative Nick Rahall (D-WV) announced plans to introduce the new mining legislation, called the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007.

In anticipation of the legislation being introduced in the House of Representatives later today, Earthjustice legislative associate Sara Tucker offers the following statement:

“We thank Representative Rahall for his leadership on this important mining issue. It’s about time the mining industry takes responsibility for the damage it has caused to the environment at the expense of the American taxpayer. Congress now has the opportunity to update a vestige of the past with new mining legislation that points us towards a protective future for public lands out West.

“Some of our nation’s most spectacular places have been destroyed by destructive mining practices. The bill will update an existing law that has been in place since 1872. The old law has never been updated to account for a much more profitable and modern industry. For over 100 years, private mining companies have gotten away with a land grab that has robbed American taxpayers of fair royalties for these precious minerals.

“Thanks to Mr. Rahall’s commitment to protecting our environment, these lands will be here for future generations to enjoy. We support Congress in its attempt to close this loophole and protect our lands, guarantee our fair share, and save these special places for future generations.

“Representative Rahall has been a great leader on this issue and we praise his tireless efforts to protect America’s special places and natural resources.”

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