Background: Late yesterday the House Natural Resources Committee completed the markup of their portion of the budget reconciliation bill. The committee’s proposal calls for much-needed components of hardrock mining reform: a royalty for minerals extracted on public lands and a reclamation fee (such as those paid by other extractive industries), which would fund cleanup at closed mine sites. It also includes specific protections for two parts of Arizona threatened by mine proposals: the Grand Canyon and Chich’il Bildagoteel (Oak Flat), sites sacred to many Indigenous peoples. The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate last month included the creation of a new $3 billion program to clean up the United States’ hundreds of thousands of abandoned hardrock mines, which this reconciliation bill aims to fund.
Statement from Lauren Pagel, Earthworks’ Policy Director:
“America’s clean energy transformation cannot replace dirty oil with dirty mining. We can protect communities, save taxpayer dollars and create good jobs by holding the mining industry accountable. We thank the House Natural Resources Committee and its chairman, Rep. Grijalva, for fighting for much-needed changes to make polluters pay for harms from mining.
“This is progress, but further reform is needed. The Biden-Harris administration can also act to ensure the minerals we need for clean energy are sourced responsibly by strengthening mining oversight and tribal consultation. Industrial-scale mining should not trump other important land uses, such as sacred and cultural site protection, drinking water supplies, conservation and tourism.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
- Just Minerals: Safeguarding protections for community rights, sacred places, and public lands from the unfounded push for mining expansion