1872 Mining Law Reform Legislation Launched in 118th Congress

News for Immediate Release
May 19, 2023
Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262, [email protected]

 The bicameral Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act would impose industry royalties and fees, fund abandoned mine cleanup, protect cultural, Tribal resources

WASHINGTON – The Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act, bicameral legislation that would modernize hardrock mining laws in the United States and fund the restoration of abandoned mines, was introduced this morning by House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM). The bills would make long-overdue updates to the 1872 General Mining Law, which has governed mining on U.S. public lands for more than 150 years.

The Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act would institute royalties and other fees on hardrock mining operations, requiring the industry to pay for its use of public resources. It not only would empower federal public land managers to protect important cultural areas, including Tribal areas; it would require them to consult with Tribes before permitting mining activities that would impact Tribal communities.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has consistently worked to enact legislation that would reform the antiquated 1872 Mining Law and commended today’s announcement.

“The General Mining Act of 1872 is an outdated relic from another era – yet it remains current law that needs to be modernized so that we can comprehensively address negatively impacted public lands and waters, fish and wildlife and hunting and angling opportunities,” said John Gale, BHA vice president of policy and government relations. “We applaud the determination of our congressional leaders to advance meaningful mining laws that establish more responsible provisions to meet modern-day needs.

“Eliminating patenting provisions, cleaning up abandoned mines, establishing parity with other extractive industries that have been paying their way for years – these are overdue changes that the Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act would achieve,” Gale continued. “We have within our power as Americans to contribute to a legacy that would advance the long-term conservation of our shared resources while protecting important cultural resources and the future of our outdoor traditions. The time for this needed reform is at hand.”

Notably, the Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act would create a reclamation fund to implement the hardrock mining cleanup program established by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This fund, the Hardrock Minerals Reclamation Fund, would invest in the cleanup of abandoned mines – more than a half-million of which are estimated to exist in the United States – using monies derived from royalties and fees.

More than 270 million acres of federal public lands – more than two-thirds of the entire U.S. public estate – are open to hardrock mining under the 1872 Mining Law. Learn more about BHA’s work to advance commonsense mining policy that balances the needs of industry with fish and wildlife habitat.

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for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

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About Katie McKalip

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