The Mineral Policy Center's report can be obtained free by calling 202/887-1872, or can be seen at www.mineralpolicy.org.
Six Mishaps isn't the only mining study on the street. Because the Department of the Interior has sought to strengthen its mining code over the past three years, Congress, led by Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, commissioned the National Academy of Sciences to prepare an evaluation of current mining laws.
The $800,000 result, Hardrock Mining on Federal Lands, was released one day after Six Mishaps. It finds that "the existing array of federal and state laws regulating mining is generally effective in protecting the environment." The 260-page study, however, recommends stricter enforcement of current laws and better on-the-ground information management. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, who recently introduced a rider to increase the amount of mining waste allowed on public lands, lauded the academy's work: "The NAS study should lay to rest any further debate about the Department of the Interior's efforts to rewrite its mining regulations," the senator said.
The academy's report, written by a committee of 13 academics, mining corporation representatives and independent consultants, can be viewed at www.nas.edu. For a hard copy, available in January, call 800/624-6242 .
* Ali Macalady