Leading Democrats Introduce a Mining Reform Bill

Last week Ranking Member Grijalva and Rep Lowenthal, the top Democrat on the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee, introduced the Hardrock Leasing and Reclamation Act of 2018. 

The Grijalva-Lowenthal bill requires hardrock mining operations to meet some of the same requirements and standards that already apply to oil, gas, and coal development on public lands. Among other measures, the bill would:

  • Eliminate the antiquated use of mining claims, and create a leasing system for hardrock mines on public lands similar to oil, gas, coal and numerous other minerals.
  • Treat mining the same as other public lands uses–such as grazing, hunting, and energy development–and allow mining to be managed through existing land-use planning processes.
  • Provide clear authority for federal land managers to reject a mine proposal if it would cause unacceptable damage to public lands or resources.
  • Establish a 12.5 percent royalty on new mining operations–the same amount as oil and gas–and an 8 percent royalty on existing operations, with an exemption for small miners.
  • Devote those royalties, as well as money raised from a per-ton fee on displaced material from mining, to the cleanup of abandoned hardrock mines across the country.
  • Establish strong reclamation standards and bonding requirements to make sure the American people don’t pay to clean up after mining companies that leave or go bankrupt.
  • Protect special places, such as wilderness study areas, roadless areas, and wild and scenic rivers, from mining.

The bill will tremendously improve the century-old mining laws and reflects democratic priorities of protecting our public lands and providing American tax payers with a reasonable return for profits made from the natural resources that belong to us all. 

More information on the bill can be found at the following link: Leading Democrats Introduce Historic Mining Reform Bill on Anniversary of President Grant Signing Mining Law of 1872


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