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.



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  1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Always an awful law that makes hard rock mining the number one priority on public lands, this law has become especially obnoxious lately with thousands of claims filed around Grand Canyon National Park and other important public lands. This has been coupled with a BLM willing to actually buck Congress on how to treat these mining claims.

    The gold mines of Nevada keep increasing in number too, and they are poisoning the waters of Idaho, southern Oregon, and Utah.

  2. Jeff Avatar

    As longs as Harry Reid is in charge of the Senate I doubt we’ll see any reform to the 1872 Mining Act


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