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The Obama administration defending bad Bush-era mining policies? I wish that I could add an “April Fools!” after that statement, but unfortunately, it’s true.

In addition to opening up vast areas of our coastline to offshore oil drilling yesterday, the Obama administration also decided to allow unlimited amounts of our nation’s public lands to be used as waste dumps for the mining industry.

EARTHWORKS (along with Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, High Country Citizens Alliance, Great Basin Resource Watch and Western Shoshone Defense Project) filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior last fall, hoping the Obama administration would support communities and water resources by overturning Bush administration mining policies that harm our public lands. Yesterday, the Obama administration chose to defend two Bush administration regulations that weakened the requirements for environmental and taxpayer protections on federal land involved in mining operations.

One of the regulations dubbed the “millsite” provision allows this countries largest toxic polluter, the hardrock mining industry, to use unlimited amounts of public land to dump toxic mine waste and tailings from large-scale industrial mining operations.

Obama ran for President on a platform of change, but this week, all I see is the same old shrub.   

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