FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 29, 1994
Contact: Kathryn Hohmann 202-675-7916, Melanie Griffin 202-765-6273 or Roni Lieberman
The Sierra Club today expressed deep disappointment at the death of congressional
efforts to reform the antiquated 1872 Mining Law, but said that at this point, it
represented a mercy killing.
"The mining industry had watered down this bill so badly that it couldn't be
called reform," said Kathryn Hohmann, Washington Director for Public Lands. "This
is a sad day for our western public lands and for the taxpayers. This whole process has
been a grand testament to the power of mining industry PAC money," she said.
"There is something fundamentally wrong with our system when over 80% of the
American people support reform and the Congress can't say no to multinational mining
corporations," said John Lamb, Chair of Sierra Club's Mining Commmittee.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman J. Bennett Johnston declared the
reform effort dead this morning, and blamed industry.
"In the end, it is the public lands, the public health and the public purse
that will pay for this lack of action," said Hohmann. The 1872 Mining Law, signed
into law by President Ulysses S. Grant, remains the law of the land. Under this law,
mining companies walk away with over $3 billion each year in minerals taken from our
public lands. They pay no return to the federal Treasury and the taxpayers get nothing
except a huge bill for the cleanup of hazardous waste dumps left by the industry.
"The 103rd Congress may be at an end, but our fight for mining law reform is
not," said Hohmann "We will be back. We simply cannot accept that
multinational mining corporations are running America," she said. ""The
public and our natural heritage deserve better."
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