Sending Office: Committee on Natural Resources – Minority Staff
Bring mining into the
20th 21st Century!
Cosponsor the Hardrock Leasing and Reclamation Act of 2018!
Endorsed by: Earthjustice, Earthworks, Natural Resources Defense Council, Western Organization of Resource Councils, The Sierra Club
Current cosponsors: Blumenauer, Clay, DeGette, Huffman, Napolitano, Pocan, Velazquez, Polis, Schakowsky, Soto, Tonko, McNerney, Norton, Lujan, McCollum, Cartwright, Lujan Grisham
For the past 146 years, mining companies have taken more than $300 billion worth of gold, silver, copper, and other valuable metals from our public lands without paying a nickel in royalties to the American people – and have purchased over 3
million acres of the most valuable mining lands at the 19th Century bargain rate of
$5 an acre or less. Meanwhile, taxpayers have been left holding the bag to the tune of tens of billions of dollars of cleanup costs for abandoned mines.
It’s not 1872 anymore. We don’t need giveaways to encourage prospectors to settle the West. What we need is for the mining industry to pay its fair share, meet modern environmental standards, and address its legacy of contamination throughout
That’s why recently introduced the Hardrock Leasing and Reclamation Act of 2018. This bill would apply commonsense reforms to require hardrock mining to meet some of the same requirements and standards that already apply to oil, gas, and coal
development on public lands. For example, the bill would:
- End the antiquated mining claim process and create a leasing system for hardrock mines on public lands, similar to oil, gas, coal, potash, soda ash, and numerous other minerals.
- Eliminate the exalted status that mining currently enjoys on public lands, leveling the playing field with all other uses of public lands–such as grazing, hunting, and energy development–allowing it to be managed through existing land-use planning processes.
- Provide clear authority for our federal land managers to say no to a proposed mine if it would unduly degrade public lands or resources.
- Establish a 12.5% royalty on new mining operations–the same amount as oil and gas– and an 8% royalty on existing operations, except for miners with less than $100,000 in mining income.
- Devote those royalties, as well as money raised from a per-ton fee on displaced material from mining, to the cleanup of abandoned hardrock mine lands across the country.
- Establish strong reclamation standards and bonding requirements, so the American people aren’t on the hook to clean up a mine if a company skips town or goes bankrupt.
- Protect special places, such as wilderness study areas, roadless areas, and wild and scenic rivers, from mining.
We hope you will join us in trying to protect taxpayers and the environment, and bring hardrock mining into the 21st Century. For more information, or to become an original cosponsor, please contact Steve Feldgus on the Natural Resources Committee
Steve.Feldgus@mail.house.gov or 5-6065.
Raúl M. Grijalva
House Committee on Natural Resources
Alan S. Lowenthal
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0