The Debate Over A Century Old Law — страница 4

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environmental clean up of mining sites is necessary to help slow environmental damage, even at the expense of some marginally profitable operations having to go out of business. While most of the larger mining corporations will be able to absorb the added expenditure of the bonds and royalties, it is break-even operations that may be put out of business. A single person business or recreational prospector could hardly afford to post a six thousand-dollar to twenty-five thousand-dollar cash bond to keep alive a weekend hobby (Barol, Zuckerman). Both the federal government and the mining industry will need to compromise if they are ever to come to an agreement on this issue. Yet, the federal government needs to keep the upper hand on this issue, because if they don’t, the mining

industry will continue in its irresponsible ways, and what is left of our environment today will be substantially less for the generations of tomorrow. As for the mining industry, they need to wake up and smell the toxins, get a look at the big picture instead of just their profit margins, and take responsibility for their actions while running their industry with a new set of ethics. 3bc9 Arrandale, Tom. “Public Land Policy.” CQ Researcher 17 June. 1994: 529-549 Barol, Bill., and Zuckerman, Seth. “The Miners VS. the Feds.” Newsweek 28 March. 1988: 62 Begley, Sharon. “Is This What U.S.Grant Had in Mind?” US News and World Report 18 Sept. 1995: 22 Begley, Sharon., and Glick, Daniel. “The Last Great Giveaway.” Newsweek 30 May. 1994: 66-67 Boyle, Robert H. “This

Land is Mine Land.” Outdoor Life Aug. 1994: 529-549 Camia, Catalina. “Senators, Conceding Defeat, Drop Mining Law Rewrite.” Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report 1 Oct. 1994: 2785-2786 Hocker, Philip M. “A Pickaxe Too Far.” Economist 25 April. 1992: 25-26 Satchell, Michael. “To the Rescue at Yellowstone.” US News and World Report 26 Aug. 1997: 12 English 201 The Debate Over a Century Old Law Thesis: The showdown in the west between the U.S. Government and the hardrock mining industry, over a one hundred and twenty five year old law, is apt to leave all parties involved, including the environment, feeling the adverse effects of their indecisiveness. I. The U.S. Government needs to reform this outdated law.A. The west has changed in the past one hundred years.B.

Environmental issues are now different.C. Fair reimbursement for lands and minerals must be established.II. The mining industry claims it cannot survive with reformation.A. Proposed changes would cause miners to lose jobs.B. Mining “execs” claim they already pay their fair share.C. Royalty payments are said to be excessive.III. Can a new presidential administration resolve this issue?A. President Clinton names Bruce Babbitt Secretary of the Interior.B. Can the president hold firm on his election promises to the environmentalists?IV. The mining industry has no defense for its pollution of the environment.A. The exorbitant cost of mine cleanup is passed on to the federal governmentB. Abandoned mines continue to pollute.C. The need to implement royalty fees and cash bonds to

assure future clean up.V. Compromise is needed from both sides The Debate Over a Century Old Law The General Mining Law of 1872, like the Homestead Act of 1862, was put into effect to encourage migration and development of the western region of the United States, under the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant. At the same time, Congress was also offering public lands for the taking, to enterprising stockmen and loggers. The mining law provides every American the right to stake one or more claims-up to one hundred sixty acres-on federal lands. If the claimant can convince the government that he has a “discovery”, of a “hardrock” mineral, that would justify a “prudent man” deciding to mine the claim, he can work the land and live on it rent-free without paying a penny in

royalties to the federal government (Barol, Zuckerman). By contrast, the oil, gas, and coal mining industries pay up to twelve and one half percent of their gross revenues to mine federally owned lands (Begley, Glick 66). This law also gives the claim holder than right to “patent” the claim. By buying patent to a hardrock mining claim, the miner or miners are essentially purchasing federally owned public lands away from the U.S. Government, including land in the U.S. National Forests. The price they pay for the land in question depends upon what type of claim they have filed for. A claim where the mineral is imbedded in ore, as in a gold vein, is called a “lode” claim. The fee per acre to patent a lode claim is, and has been for the past 125 years, two dollars and fifty