Interior nominee Salazar likely to push update, not overhaul, of mining law

The 1872 Mining Law is a long-standing embarrassment, but Obama has shown no interest in dumping it-

During the primary election season when Obama first came out against significant reform of this land destroying, trillion* dollar give-away, I thought he had merely received bad advice. Raúl Grijalva’s fervent desire to end this law probably weighed heavily against him in consideration for the job as Secretary of Interior.

Interior nominee Salazar likely to push update, not overhaul, of mining law. By Lisa Mascaro. Las Vegas Sun.

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*That’s a trillion dollars over time, not an annual loss to the treasury



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  1. kt Avatar

    Obama’s unwillingness to make significant changes in the 1872 mining law bodes ill for all facets of public lands management and resources.

    The foreign gold and other mines in Nevada are laying waste to the landscape across a huge swath of the state, permanently depleting aquifers, killing spring and stream flows by dropping the water table as the pit level gets lowered, and polluting the airsheds with mercury across the region. These are NOT U. S. businesses – all the Nevada gold and most of the other mines that are making billions from minerals off public lands are foreign.

    They are Booming now, and when the Bust comes, a devastated region will lie in their wake. And they wil legally have spirited away from the people of this country billions – maybe trillions??? – in mineral resources that should belong to the American people.

    Obama’s unwilligness to take on Big Mining also foretells just how the green / renewable energy that is being ballyhooed will come down – Destructio of the public lands to benefit continued Big Corporation control of energy.

    It won’t be about a different model of localized production of energy and biologically intact natural systems to naturally sequester carbon. No indeed. My bet is that with Salazar at Interior it will be all about largely foreign owned mega-companies siting huge wind, solar, geothermal industrial facilities in undeveloped wild lands – thus destroying the remaining critical sage grouse, desert tortoise and other habitat in the Interior West.

    How much hedge fund money is invested in plans to loot extremely valuable mineral and other resources from the public lands ? How much scamming upon scamming has already taken place – like with the uranium mining near the Grand Canyon – Utah and Arizona tha has been documented in news articles? Are hedge funds also involved in the Industrial wind and solar energy plants proposed to be developed on public lands – where largely foreign-owned companies would pay much less than they would pay to a private land owner? To what level have prominent Democrats and others invested in this all?


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan