Take a hammer to the 1872 Mining Act

“The 137-year-old law is a legacy of a bygone era in the West”

Folks have been trying to change this law my entire life and long before that. Will this be the year? If so, how much can it be changed?

The Oregonian thinks change is now politically possible. The 1872 Act has long been regarded as one of the best examples of the dead hand of the past still governing Western public lands politics.

“Take a hammer to the 1872 Mining Act.” The Editorial Board of the Oregonian.

House passes reform of 1872 mining law

The U.S. House easily passed reform of the 1872 mining law that still governs the discovery and extraction of “hard rock” minerals on public lands.

The bill did not pass it by enough, however, to override President Bush’s veto.

A weaker bill is expected to pass the Senate, one more in line with some of the President’s objections. However, Bush has a tendency to move “move the goalposts” in terms of his objections on bills, making him essentially impossible to negotiate with.

Story by Brodie Farquhar, House Passes Mining Reform, White House Threatens Veto. New West.

A look the voting pattern of U.S. Representatives from the West shows Republicans against reform and Democrats in favor, almost without exception. Even “Blue Dogs” like Utah Democrat Jim Matheson voted for the bill.

Many in Boise, Idaho area hoping for mining reform to reduce local mining threat

The U.S. House of Representative may be close to passing long overdue reforms to the 1872 mining law. Many in the Boise, Idaho area [Treasure Valley] are hoping for changes that will stop the proposed pit mines Canadian mining companies want to excavate upstream at Atlanta, Idaho and other places in the central Idaho mountains.

“Atlanta Gold is the most unpopular proposal in Idaho,” said John Robison, who is leading the Idaho Conservation League’s campaign to stop the gold mine. “It’s even more unpopular than the nuclear power plant near Bruneau.”

Under 1872 mining law, mining is always the number one land use on public land. Other land uses and the waters have to give way.

Story in the Idaho Statesman. Valley’s eyes are on mining reform bill. As the House prepares for a vote, some see bill as a chance to protect Idaho’s water from toxins. By Rocky Barker

Update: The vote on the bill in the full House comes on Wednesday — Halloween. 

House Natural Resources Committee passes a major reform of the 1872 general mining law

Groups have been trying to reform this for a couple generations. Bush has said he will veto it.

House panel OKs bill imposing mining royalties. By Noelle Straub. Billings Gazette Washington Bureau

Instead of the old nearly free mining clam/patent system, mining operations would have to pay a royalty on “hard rock minerals” like gold, silver, lead, zinc, etc. like they currently do on gas and oil, coal, etc.

For the first time the 1872 mining law would not trump all other land uses.

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