Why the U.S. Needs Mine Permitting Reform
May 23, 2023
Nearly two decades ago, the U.S. attracted almost 20 percent of t...
To the editor: The op-ed article, “Why let mining companies rip up public land like it’s 1872?” presents a misleading picture of mining and the laws that govern it.
The 1872 Mining Act is not an environmental statute. That’s why mining operations are subject to exhaustive environmental, ecological and reclamation laws and regulations to ensure operations fully protect public health and safety, the environment and wildlife. Given the applicability of the National Environmental Protection Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, National Historic Preservation Act and other statutes, including environmental standards in the text of the 1872 Mining Law would provide no additional environmental benefits.
Issues related to legacy mines are not due to the Mining Law’s lack of environmental provisions, but to the fact that the history of mining predates the brief history of environmental laws that cover modern industries, including mining.