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  Outdated federal mining regulations cause environmental disasters, says the Mineral Policy Center in Washington, D.C. Its 32-page report, Six Mines, Six Mishaps: Six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
  • MEMBERSHIP MANAGER
    For more information visit www. wyofile.com/careers/
  • THRIVING LOCAL HEALTH FOOD STORE FOR SALE
    Turn-key business opportunity. Successful well established business with room to grow. Excellent highway visibility.
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    For more information, visit www.wyofile.com/careers/
  • SONORAN INSTITUTE, CEO
    Chief Executive Officer Tucson, Arizona ABOUT SONORAN INSTITUTE Since 1990, the Sonoran Institute has brought together diverse interests to successfully forge effective and enduring conservation...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION OPENING www.westernlaw.org/about-us/clinic-interns-careers The Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) is a high-impact, nonprofit public interest environmental law firm with a 27-year legacy using...
  • PROJECT MANAGER
    Position Summary Join our Team at the New Mexico Land Conservancy! We're seeking a Project Manager who will work to protect land and water across...
  • SEEKING PROPERTY FOR BISON HERD
    Seeking additional properties for a herd of 1,000 AUM minimum. Interested in partnering with landowners looking to engage in commercial and/or conservation bison ranching. Location...
  • DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT AND MARKETING
    High Country News seeks a Director of Product and Marketing to join our senior team during an exciting chapter of innovation and growth. This individual...
  • WILDLIFE HAVEN
    Beautiful acreage with Teton Creek flowing through it. Springs and ponds, lots of trees, moose and deer. Property has barn. Easy access. approx. 33 acres.
  • ARIZONA CONSERVATION CORPS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Arizona Conservation Corps is seeking a Program Director in Flagstaff or Tucson
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • OJO CALIENTE COMMERCIAL VENTURE
    Outstanding location near the world famous Ojo Caliente Mineral Spring Resort. Classic adobe Mercantile complete w/living quarters, separate 6 unit B&B, metal building and spacious...