Mining may need some brakes

  • MODERN MINING: Crowfoot Mine in Nevada

    Philip Hocker photo/Mineral Policy Center
  Outdated federal mining regulations cause environmental disasters, says the Mineral Policy Center in Washington, D.C. Its 32-page report, Six Mines, Six Mishaps: Six Case Studies of What's Wrong With Federal and State Hardrock Mining Regulations and Recommendations for Reform, describes a wide range of mining sites that have "slipped through the loopholes of regulations," says the center's Krista Dahlberg. One "mishap" described by the center reoccurred over decades at New Mexico's Molycorp molybdenum mine. Ernie Atencio, one of seven contributors to the report, says Molycorp violated the Clean Water Act and harmed Red River fisheries by allowing more than 100 slurry spills. Five other case studies document similar damage from gold, silver and uranium mines across the West. The report recommends tougher federal laws regulating acid mine drainage, mine inspection, mine bonding and mine reclamation.


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
High Country News Classifieds
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH ASSOCIATE
    Communications and Outreach Associate Position Opening: www.westernlaw.org/communications-outreach-associate ************************************************* Location: Western U.S., ideally in one of WELC's existing office locations (Santa Fe or Taos, NM, Helena,...
  • FREELANCE GRAPHIC DESIGNER & PROJECT COORDINATOR (REMOTE)
    High Country News (HCN) is seeking a contract Graphic Designer & Project Coordinator to design promotional, marketing and fund-raising assets and campaigns, and project-manage them...
  • FILM AND DIGITAL MEDIA: ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF INDIGENOUS MEDIA, CULTURAL SOVEREIGNTY AND DECOLONIZATION (INITIAL REVIEW 12.1.21)
    Film and Digital Media: Assistant Professor of Indigenous Media, Cultural Sovereignty and Decolonization (Initial Review 12.1.21) Position overview Position title: Assistant Professor - tenure-track Salary...
  • REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST
    To learn more about this position and to apply please go to the following URL.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE
    40 acres: 110 miles from Tucson: native trees, grasses: birder's heaven::dark sky/ borders state lease & National forest/5100 ft/13-16 per annum rain
  • CENTRAL PARK CULTURAL RESOURCE SPECIALIST
    Agency: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Salary Range: $5,203 - $7,996 Position Title: Central Park Cultural Resource Specialist Do you have a background in Archaeology...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    Come live and work in one of the most beautiful places in the world! As our Staff Attorney you will play a key role in...
  • ARIZONA GRAZING CLEARINGHOUSE
    Dedicated to preventing the ecological degradation caused by livestock grazing on Arizona's public lands, and exposing the government subsidies that support it.
  • OPERATIONS MANAGER
    Position Summary: Friends of the Inyo (friendsoftheinyo.org) is seeking a new Operations Manager. The Operations Manager position is a full-time permanent position that reports directly...
  • WATER RIGHTS BUREAU CHIEF
    Water Rights Bureau Chief, State of Montana, DNRC, Water Resources Division, Helena, MT Working to support and implement the Department's mission to help ensure that...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Amargosa Conservancy (AC), a conservation nonprofit dedicated to standing up for water and biodiversity in the Death Valley region, seeks an executive director to...
  • DEVELOPMENT & OUTREACH ASSOCIATE
    Southeast Alaska Conservation Council is hiring! Who We Are: The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) is a small grassroots nonprofit based out of Juneau, Alaska,...
  • DESERT LANDS ORGANIZER
    Position Summary: Friends of the Inyo seeks a Desert Lands Organizer to assist with existing campaigns that will defend lands in the California desert, with...
  • IDAHO CONSERVATION LEAGUE
    Want to help preserve Idaho's land, water, and air for future generations? Idaho Conservation League currently has 3 open positions. We are looking for a...
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.
  • EVENTS AND ANNUAL FUND COORDINATOR
    The Events and Annual Fund Coordinator is responsible for managing and coordinating the Henry's Fork Foundation's fundraising events for growing the membership base, renewing and...
  • EDUCATION DIRECTOR
    Position Description: The Education Director is the primary leader of Colorado Canyons Association's (CCA) education programs for students and adults on the land and rivers...
  • 10 ACRES OF NEW MEXICO HIGH DESERT
    10 Acres of undeveloped high desert land in central NM, about 45 minutes from downtown Albuquerque. Mixed cedar and piñon pine cover. Some dirt roadways...
  • WATERSHED RESTORATION DIRECTOR
    $58k-$70k + benefits to oversee watershed restoration projects that fulfill our strategic goals across urban and rural areas within the bi-national Santa Cruz and San...