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The Planet

PRESS RELEASE: MINING REFORM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 29, 1994

Contact: Kathryn Hohmann 202-675-7916, Melanie Griffin 202-765-6273 or Roni Lieberman 202-675-7903

SIERRA CLUB CALLS DEATH OF MINING LAW REFORM PROCESS A "MERCY KILLING"

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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