This is a NO SHIT, SUPER SERIOUS MATTER.
My best friend Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), chair of the House Resources Committee, is proposing amendments to the US MINING LAWS. The amendments would allow multinational corporations to buy all of our public lands -- whether they contain any minerals or not - the only public
land that would exempted are: National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, designated Wilderness Areas, National & Historic Trails, National Monuments, Wild & Scenic Rivers and National Conservation Areas.
The Arctic is safe for now, but if this goes through, we are fucked.
Call and fax a simple letter. Tell you Representative you want them to oppose the Houses budget reconciliation bill because it allows the sale
of our public land and guts the existing mining laws. The process is a subversion of the legislative process.
House Switchboard : 202-224-3121
The "Mining" Section of the Budget Reconciliation is
a stealth approach to selling public lands
The House Reconciliation bill contains a short-sighted
and ill-considered provision to sell off our nation's
public lands without regard for the public good.
While there are some revenues associated with this
fire sale, the revenues fall far short of what could
be achieved by a true reform of the 1872 Mining Law.
The bill would:
- Lift a ban on the sale or "patenting" of public lands to mining claim holders that has been in place since 1994. This action immediately allows the sale
of more than 5.5 million acres of public land,including pristine land within wilderness study areas, popular recreation spots, lands adjacent to and within
treasured national parks, important wildlife habitat and critical watershed areas.
- Makes new provisions for selling land under the mining law -- allowing mining claim holders to buy land which contains or once contained valuable
minerals as well as unlimited blocks of adjacent land. Large expanses of nearly 300 million acres of Western public land could be privatized under this provision.
- Excludes any requirement that land purchased actually be used for mining, essentially legalizing what was previously considered an abuse of the mining
law and allowing mining companies, real estate developers and others to turn treasured natural areas into condos, resorts or other inappropriate developments.
- Removes a requirement to show a "discovery of a valuable mineral deposit" before making a purchase or securing rights to the land - a requirement that has been in the law since 1872. Also weakens the existing laws requirements for mining claim holders to actually carry out claim-related work.
- Allows mining operations conducted on these "sold" public lands to escape federal environmental review and reclamation bonding requirements.
- Creates additional opportunities for taxpayer rip-offs by requiring the Department of Interior to accept, without review, appraisals offered by
prospective land purchasers.
- Raises less than half the amount of revenue thatb could be raised by a modest 8% royalty on hardrockbmining companies - a royalty level in line with the percentage fees paid by other extractive industries
removing valuable resources from public land.
- Threatens revenues raised from oil and gas royalties, since the bill's provisions could also be used by extractive industries to purchase land
outright rather than seek lease agreements.
Will somebody get me a new Goddamned Congress?!?!? I am sick of dealing with this shit.
*[UPDATE: I've just heard that, due to MASSIVE public opposition, the bill is on hold indefinitely. We are not sure when the budget will come up for a vote but it will not be until next week. They are delaying the vote until they get enough republican support to pass it, which they clearly do not have now. We will keep hammering the hill about the mining related provisions so they know just how bad it is. KEEP HAMMERING. IT WORKS.*