Friday, September 28, 2007

Grant Turns In His Grave

I spent ten years of my life trying to get the 1872 Mining Law reformed. That is the law that President Ulysses Grant signed that was meant to help develop the west after the civil war. It allowed mining companies to steal from the tax payer.(Now we allow the defense industry and the Oil companies to steal too.) The Law's usefulness ended in the early 1900's but it is always hard to get pigs away from the trough and despite lots of good efforts the mining industry stopped reforms for 100 years.

Now it actually looks like the law might be reformed. Congressional hearing are progressing and some Republicans are signing on to the effort as their constituencies clamor for strong environmental law and accountability. Better late than never.

Actually, all of a sudden there are some positive things happening on public land issues in the west. The one big worry is whether bush and cheney will give away the farm through administrative actions in the next 15 months. One thing that you can say about them is that they stick to their guns and never give up on their give aways to friends.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for helping as always, Jim. It's startling when you see what this does to mountains. What you often don't see is the aftermath of such mining; the polluted streams and floods, etc. Usually it's the poor folk living in those rural areas that suffer, and they have little defense against these huge corporations.

I'm curious, you use the terms "in the west" alot with this. That is a federal law isn't it? The folks back east have really suffered, particularly around Virginia. Is the "lobby" against this stuff split regionally somehow? and if so, wouldn't all folks benefit from a universal larger voice. Or is it mostly fragmented environmental groups fighting this? Also, are the lawsuits brought by citizens having any real success and do these help in anyway curbing this law you speak of?

I just thought some more discussion on this pertinent issue would be right on target. This is the same issue as things like offshore drilling and drilling in our national reserves and stuff. Bush has pushed us back pretty far it seems. Maybe we should let him know, on the heels of his big "environmental" speech, that he could start right there.