Today, Senators Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) introduced the Mining Regulatory Clarity Act. The bill would make it even easier for mining companies to stake a claim on our public lands — regardless of the existence of a legitimate mineral claim. The legislation would overturn settled law by overruling the rightful and balanced decision of an independent judiciary from the “Rosemont” case. After the announcement, Earthjustice Senior Legislative Representative Blaine Miller-McFeeley issued the following statement:
“Mining companies have long abused the Mining Law, unlawfully claiming a right to destroy public lands to maximize profits. This proposal would condone that illegal practice, essentially giving mining companies a free pass to occupy our public lands and lock out other uses — including for recreation, conservation, clean energy, and cultural purposes.
“Mining companies have left a trail of environmental destruction and human health catastrophes as a direct result of poorly regulated practices and corporate greed. As we prepare to source the raw materials needed to build out the clean energy infrastructure of the future, we urge Congress to stop doing the bidding of greedy mining corporations and instead, work on meaningful reforms that will protect communities, special places, and sacred sites from unnecessary destruction. This legislation is a wholesale giveaway to mining companies.”