From The Durango Telegraph:
The tides appear to be turning against hardrock mining. This week, a breakthrough step was taken by the U.S. Senate on reforming the 1872 mining law and protecting the Colorado landscape. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency has been ordered to develop rules that will ensure mining companies will again never dodge environmental cleanup in the future. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., chaired a Tuesday hearing on mining reform in the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. The session marks the first time federal mining reform legislation has been introduced in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate since 1993. In recent years, hardrock mining soared throughout the nation with uranium claims alone jumping 239 percent from 2003-09. Meanwhile, the 1872 mining law places the development of hardrock minerals as the best use of public lands, often creating irrational public land use decisions. Threats to communities are just one of the reasons why 20 state legislators and county commissioners in 11 counties submitted letters to Sen. Udall supporting strong mining reform. “A lot has changed since 1872. The West is settled, and agriculture, tourism and outdoor recreation are primary economic drivers for mountain towns,” said Colorado Sen. Gail Schwartz. “We need sensible mining policy. Colorado has taken steps toward reform.
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