1872 mining law gets the boot.

Author:Scheer, Roddy
Position:THIS WEEK - General Mining Law of 1872 - Brief article

Environmentalists are overjoyed at news that the House Natural Resources Committee last week approved legislation rewriting the antiquated General Mining Law of 1872. That legislation, originally signed by President Ulysses S. Grant, was designed to promote the development and settlement of publicly owned lands on the American frontier. The old law promoted development by allowing mining interests to take valuable hard rock minerals--such as gold, silver and uranium--from public lands without royalty payment to taxpayers and without any consideration of environmental impact. Other mining industries that extract coal, oil or natural gas must meet stringent environmental standards while reimbursing federal coffers for the privilege. The 1872 law also allowed mining companies to buy valuable mineral-bearing public lands for no more than $5 per acre, which may have seemed fair in 1872 but is grossly under-priced by today's standards.


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