The Salt Lake Tribune has an editorial today against the 1872 general mining law, which has endured attempts to reform it since the 19th century. Its harmful consequences to our public lands is increasing because of the recent rush to stake new uranium and other “hard rocks” claims.

These minerals are basically given away free under this law and the surface of the law is permanently privatized if the mining claim is patented. Meanwhile oil, gas, phosphate, potash, sulfur, coal, and geothermal, are classified as leasable minerals and bo th the federal government and the state receive receive royalties from their development.

SLT Editorial.

The Tribune is not alone in covering this. Report: More Than 800 New Mining Claims Crowd Border of Grand Canyon National Park. Many Claims for Uranium: Yosemite, Arches, Canyonlands, Joshua Tree also Threatened. YubaNet.

From July 2007. Sportsmen want 1872 mining law revised. By Steve Lipsher Denver Post Staff Writer.

On Aug 27, the Washington Post had a warming article about the recent upsurge in claims under the 1872 law. Mining Our Treasures: An 1872 Law Paves the Way for a Rush of Claims in the West. By Jane Danowitz and Richard Wiles.  “815 active mining claims lie within five miles of the Grand Canyon, 805 of them staked since 2003. Just outside Arches National Park in Utah, 869 claims have been snatched up, almost all within the past five years.”

 
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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 Industry darling: Mining law of 1872 should be reformed

  1. avatar Lisa McDonald says:

    President Bush has given the power to each national park to manage as they see fit. This has cleared the way for the raping of the very lands we need to be protecting. Corporations are being handed our national lands on a silver platter for their profit. The secret is out. Now let’s fix it. Once these lands are destroyed, they are gone forever.

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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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