1872 Mining Law Reform Legislation Introduced in the 118th Congress

The bicameral Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act would impose industry royalties and fees, fund the cleanup of abandoned mines, protect cultural and tribal resources.

WASHINGTON – The Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act, bicameral legislation that would modernize hard rock mining laws in the United States and fund the restoration of abandoned mines, was introduced this morning by the Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee of the House of Representatives, Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), and the Senator. Martin Heinrich (D-NM). The bills would long ago update the General Mining Act of 1872, which has governed mining on American public lands for more than 150 years.

The Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act would institute royalties and other fees on hard rock mining operations, requiring the industry to pay for the use of public resources. It would not only empower federal public land managers to protect important cultural areas, including tribal areas; it would require them to consult with tribes before allowing mining activities that would affect tribal communities.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has consistently worked to enact legislation that would reform the antiquated Mining Act of 1872 and hailed today’s announcement.

“The General Mining Law of 1872 is an obsolete relic from another era; however, it is still current law that needs to be modernized so that we can comprehensively address negatively impacted public lands and waters, fish and wildlife, and hunting and angling opportunities,” John said. Gale, BHA’s vice president of policy and government relations. “We applaud the determination of our congressional leaders to advance meaningful mining laws that make provisions more responsible to meet modern needs.

“Removing patent provisions, cleaning up abandoned mines, establishing parity with other extractive industries that have been paying for years – these are overdue changes that the Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act would achieve,” Gale continued. . “As Americans, we have the power to contribute to a legacy that would promote the long-term conservation of our shared resources while protecting important cultural resources and the future of our outdoor traditions. The time for this necessary reform is near.”

In particular, the Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act would create a recovery fund to implement the hard rock mining cleanup program established by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This fund, the Hardrock Minerals Reclamation Fund, would invest in the cleanup of abandoned mines, of which there are estimated to be more than half a million in the United States, using money derived from royalties and fees.

More than 270 million acres of federal public lands, more than two-thirds of all public land in the US, are open to hard rock mining under the Mining Act of 1872. Learn more about the BHA’s work to promote common sense mining policy that balances the needs of the industry with fish and wildlife habitat.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

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