The General Mining Law of 1872 is among the last statutory survivors of the boisterous era of westward expansion. Essentially unchanged since Ulysses S. Grant signed it into law, it sets the basic rules for mining hard-rock minerals like gold, copper and uranium on public lands.

Read the rest of the NYT editorial urging reform to bring hard rock mining laws from the 19th to the 21st century. New York Times. Editorial.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

One Response to Unchanged (for the Worse) since 1872

  1. avatar ClapSo says:

    This law outlived its usefulness at the beginning of the 20th century. It has been nothing but a ripoff of our public lands since then. Reform is long over due…

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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