Former Forest Service Chief to advocate for Mining Law reform before Senate
As the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee gears up for another hearing regarding reform of the U.S. mining law, a prominent conservationist is expected to renew his call for tougher legislation.
Posted: Tuesday , 22 Jan 2008
RENO, NV -
Longtime mining law reform proponent Mike Dombeck, the former chief of both the U.S Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Senate, is scheduled to testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on Thursday.
Dombeck is testifying on behalf of Trout Unlimited, the National Wildlife Federation and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, organizations that claim to represent million of outdoor enthusiasts, sportsmen and wildlife and fishery professionals.
Now a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Dombeck called the 1872 Mining Law, the "most outdated natural resource law in the nation. ...Our mining laws still reflect a time long past with a lack of balance toward the nation's valued water and public lands resources."
"Professional resource managers at the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management need to have the ability to make science-based decisions about where and when mining on public lands should occur. Without this discretion, professional land managers cannot maintain their commitments as stewards of the public trust."
Dombeck led the U.S. Forest Service from 1997 to April 2001 and the BLM from 1994 to 1997.
The House of Representatives passed a tough mining law reform bill, HR 2262, the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act, last year. The bill, whose chief sponsor is Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall, D-West Virginia, would require existing hardrock mining operations on public lands pay a 4% gross royalty while future hardrock mine would pay an 8% royalty.
The National Mining Association announced earlier this month that William E. Cobb of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold is also expected to testify at the Senate hearing on behalf of the NMA.
The Senate committee is not anticipated to support HR2262, but will instead draft its own Mining Law reform legislation.