Nasty! H.R. 699 bill to “end all mining” ?

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  • Wed, Mar 11, 2009 - 03:05pm

    #1

    scotthw

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    Nasty! H.R. 699 bill to “end all mining” ?

This brought to my attention by Chris Laird at Prudentsquirrel.com:

Nick Rahall, chairman of the House Resources Committee, reintroduced
mining reform legislation in the House of Representatives on January
27, 2009. The Congressman has obviously been away from real work for
far too long. H.R. 699, the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of
2009, should be labeled H.R. 666 because it appears to have been
written by the Devil himself. If it passes as written, it will
completely destroy an entire industry.

http://www.icmj.com/article.php?id=56&keywords=Rahall_Proposes_Bill_to_End_All_Mining_in_the_U.S

Scott

  • Wed, Mar 11, 2009 - 03:38pm

    #2
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    Re: Nasty! H.R. 699 bill to “end all mining” ?

The 1872 Mining Law is one of the most evil in the history of the country. It explicitly enshrines mining as the "highest use of the land" and has enabled this criminal industry, really just a gang of thugs, to

– stake exclusive claims to large swathes of public property, for a mere pittance of a leasing fee,

– deny the public any further access to its own property,

– destroy the public land to extract public property minerals, for which they pay nothing in royalties,

– disregard all air and water laws, as they freely ravage and poison everything, all public property, in sight, 

– when they’re finished, they can walk away from the devastated public property scot free, leaving the clean-up for the taxpayers,

– burdened only with lugging all the profit.

In addition, through the process of "patenting", they can claim public land on the vague allegation of an intention to mine it, fence it off to the public, pay pennies on the market value dollar to actually receive private title to the land, de jure privatization, and then simply sell it to developers to build condos or whatever, seeing profit ratios of 100:1 or more.

Many of the corporations who have benefitted from this rape of the American public are foreign.

Even by George Bush standards this privatize-profits socialize-costs regime is outrageous.

The 1872 Law (and its 1866 counterpart) are odious relics which should have been wiped away long ago. They’re not fit for the 20th century, let alone the 21st. But the mining industry, perhaps the most selfish, greedy, and criminal of all special interests, can still buy enough western legislators, who engage in enough logrolling, that each time someone like Rahall tries to bury this fossil, it gets dug back up again.

I’m glad he’s trying yet again.

 

  • Wed, Mar 11, 2009 - 03:58pm

    #3
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    Re: Nasty! H.R. 699 bill to “end all mining” ?

The industry is a dinosaur anyway.

We’d be far better diverting funds into agriculture, science and technologies that do more with less.

Unfortunately, we’re in a canundrum because it’s really too late to start doing that now.

At any rate, it’s not likely that it’ll pass.

Cheers!

Aaron

  • Wed, Mar 11, 2009 - 04:05pm

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    Re: Nasty! H.R. 699 bill to “end all mining” ?

I totally agree with Russ and Aaron.  Yes it would be devastating economically, but mining- at least the way it has been carried out in the past- is amongst the most short-sighted business plans conceivable.  There are times when it almost makes sense, but too often it is done with total disregard for externalities and sound knowledge on when to stop.

  • Wed, Mar 11, 2009 - 04:10pm

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    Re: Nasty! H.R. 699 bill to “end all mining” ?

So you guy’s opinion is this is a good thing ?  Sorry, my first impression is, there goes the value of the few mining stocks I own, but I see your larger picture about the environment, which I agree with.

  • Wed, Mar 11, 2009 - 04:20pm

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    Re: Nasty! H.R. 699 bill to “end all mining” ?

Hey Scott,

I don’t think of it in terms of a good thing or a bad thing because I have literally no connection to mining in any way.

But far too often we look at things in terms of "profits" instead of "impacts".
I’m one of the more "conservative" members around here, and maybe it’s my generation, but I would rather leave my children a better world than more wealth. Wealth is transitory and fleeting.

If we overproduce and fritter away our resources, the long term effects will be wealth destruction on a global level.
Essentially, a return to the "dark ages" until someone finds the next "Oil" to revitalize our fragile systems.

At this point in time, I think what we need is a "time out". A few years to just stop – get re-aquainted with a more "primitive" way of life, and get people used to that. Start initiatives building community agriculture and sustainability. Fostering the non commercial "green" practices, like composting, alternative energy and teaching children these skills.

If we take that approach, we will mitigate the long term inevitability of an all-out, global, systemic collapse as resources and space become premium.

The alternative might be less desirable in the short term, but in the long term, we are walking into a burning building, and barricading the door behind us.

Cheers!

Aaron

  • Mon, Jun 15, 2009 - 04:57pm

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    Re: Nasty! H.R. 699 bill to “end all mining” ?

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  • Wed, Jun 17, 2009 - 02:13am

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    Re: Nasty! H.R. 699 bill to “end all mining” ?

[quote=RussB]

The 1872 Mining Law is one of the most evil in the history of the country. It explicitly enshrines mining as the "highest use of the land" and has enabled this criminal industry, really just a gang of thugs, to

In addition, through the process of "patenting", they can claim public land on the vague allegation of an intention to mine it, fence it off to the public, pay pennies on the market value dollar to actually receive private title to the land, de jure privatization, and then simply sell it to developers to build condos or whatever, seeing profit ratios of 100:1 or more.

Many of the corporations who have benefitted from this rape of the American public are foreign.

Even by George Bush standards this privatize-profits socialize-costs regime is outrageous.

The 1872 Law (and its 1866 counterpart) are odious relics which should have been wiped away long ago. They’re not fit for the 20th century, let alone the 21st. But the mining industry, perhaps the most selfish, greedy, and criminal of all special interests, can still buy enough western legislators, who engage in enough logrolling, that each time someone like Rahall tries to bury this fossil, it gets dug back up again.

I’m glad he’s trying yet again.

 

[/quote]

Russ,

 

With all due respect – you have no clue what you are talking about.

stake exclusive claims to large swathes of public property, for a mere pittance of a leasing fee,

The only "claim" that can staked is the right to minerals if there are any. It takes exploration(thats time, money and effort)  to find it.

 

– deny the public any further access to its own property,

Absolutely Wrong. A mining claim only gives the right to collect minerals. It does not give the claim staker the right to exclude others from the area. You can hike, hunt, fish , picnic or do any other thing you want on that  land so long as you don’t take the minerals.

 

– destroy the public land to extract public property minerals, for which they pay nothing in royalties,

Todays miner and mining is completely different from the mining that occurred during the 19th century. Any significant disturbance must be mitigated. All of the details of the mining operation have to be detailed in an approved  comprehensive Plan of Operations.

 

 

– disregard all air and water laws, as they freely ravage and poison everything, all public property, in sight, 

 

when they’re finished, they can walk away from the devastated public property scot free, leaving the clean-up for the taxpayers,

– burdened only with lugging all the profit.

 

This is total BS. Miners must follow the same laws and even more than other Forest or BLM land users.

In addition, through the process of "patenting", they can claim public land on the vague allegation of an intention to mine it, fence it off to the public, pay pennies on the market value dollar to actually receive private title to the land, de jure privatization, and then simply sell it to developers to build condos or whatever, seeing profit ratios of 100:1 or more.

Patenting (i.e. ownership) of claimed land has not been available for DECADES. A mining claim must be "renewed" every year with the payment of additional fees and description of work done.

 

Unfortunately too many people believe some of these lies that have been promulgated by these enviro terrorists.

 

 

  • Wed, Jun 17, 2009 - 03:52am

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    Re: Nasty! H.R. 699 bill to “end all mining” ?

OK Ken – so you’re saying that I could just take the family up to Prudhoe Bay and have myself a lovely little picnic, maybe even take in some fishing?!  I seriously beg to differ… whether it’s the law or not, every large scale mining operation I’ve encountered on public land restricts access to the land. It may be for safety reasons or security reasons, but it amounts to the same thing… no more public access. And who in their right mind would try to enjoy the day, or hunt or fish, on land or in water that is disturbed and often polluted by the mining activities in progress?! 

  • Wed, Jun 17, 2009 - 05:38am

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    Re: Nasty! H.R. 699 bill to “end all mining” ?

My knowledge of the situation is based on more than a decade of employment with the USFS, including a stint on the Tahoe NF, which has more gold mining claims than any other forest in Region 5 (California), and I would guess more than any other forest in the country.  As a hydrologist, part of my job was to work on the environmental assessment and mitigation side of the issue.  While neither RussB nor kenc is 100% correct, RussB is functionally a lot closer to the truth.

While it is true that a mining claim must be filed, along with periodic plans of operation, and a deposit must be paid for cleanup, in fact the agency has very little power to require more than the most minimal protections, and even less power in enforcing them once assigned.  Deposits are generally miniscule in the scope of any reasonable cost of cleanup, and the miners generally walk away and default on them, considering it a cost of doing business, and a minor one at that.

There are virtually no penalties for the most egregious violations of permit standards or of legal statutes such as the Clean Water Act.

The reason so little can be done to enforce environmental measures or cleanup is, as was pointed out, the 1872 law.  It gives the agency very little power to do more than rubber-stamp the application.

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