Environmental group seeks to limit mining near protected lands
Monday, October 15, 2007
By JENNIFER BOWLES
An environmental group is pushing for federal legislation that would restrict mining within 10 miles of a national park, wilderness or other protected lands, a change that could affect thousands of
Congress is considering updates to the nation's 135-year-old mining law.
Statewide, 21,365 claims are within 10 miles of federal public lands, the group said.
Bill Walker, vice president of the environmental group's West Coast office in
Legislation has been introduced to update the Hardrock Mining Law of 1872, and the group wants the buffer zone to be included and land managers given power to weigh whether the mines would be harmful to the environment. The buffer zone is needed,
The House Resources Committee is scheduled on Thursday to mark up the legislation, introduced by the committee chairman, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.
Joe Zarki, chief of interpretation at Joshua Tree National Park, said park officials aren't aware of any current claims that are a threat. He said the Bureau of Land Management typically allows the National Park Service to comment on anything nearby.
"We're always concerned about issues along our borders that might possibly impact resources, whether it's the air, wildlife or vegetation," he said.
Robert Waiwood, geologist with the bureau for the
"If just a few did," he said, "they would have quite an impact."
Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency added the Formosa Mine in