North Coast Chapter Of The
California Native Plant Society

Letter to Abolish the 1872 Mining Law

Under the 1872 Mining Law individuals or corporations may be allowed to mine sensitive and priceless public lands. The 1872 Mining Law was originally passed during a period when the United States government was trying to help individual miners "settle" the West. Now however, the Mining Law has become outdated and only serves to subsidize multi national corporations, real estate speculators and individuals exploit public resources at the expense of current and future generations. As a result of this law, thousands of miles of streams have been polluted, landscapes have been destroyed and the public has had to pay for the cleanup.

The following is a letter in opposition to the 1872 Mining Law that may be used as a template. Please tell your friends or anyone you know that they too need to write a letter in opposition to this antiquated law.


Senator Barbara Boxer
Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Boxer:

I am writing to demand that the federal government abolish 1872 Mining Law that permits mining corporations to dig billions of dollars worth of minerals off of public lands for as little as $2.50 an acre. This law is not only one of the most environmentally destructive and outdated laws, it is also probably the best example of corporate welfare there is. At stake is not only the give away of billions of dollars worth of minerals on public lands, but the fragile ecology of many pristine areas of the American west.

Since demand for precious metals is fueling another mining boom in the West the time to act is now. I urge you to:

( Deny mining claims in wilderness areas and designated roadless areas.

( Strengthen environmental protection standards for land and water.

( End the patenting system that gives public land to mining companies with little return to the taxpayer- owners.

( Create or increase royalty payments for minerals extracted from public lands.

( Initiate an abandoned mine lands program to reclaim lands damaged from mining.

* Deny mining on public lands by federal regulatory agencies when companies can't show that reclamation is possible, and where mining wouldn't be compatible with current uses.

* Increase public participation to allow affected citizens and communities to voice their concerns throughout the permitting and mining process.

* Allow greater enforcement by state agencies and adequate and comprehensive analysis of new permit applications.

* Demand more adequate treatment of mining wastes by state agencies and the Environmental Protection Agency under the Resource Conservation Recovery Act.

I care very much about environmental issues and I expect you to do the same. It is obvious that the 1872 Mining Law is a complete economic and environmental disaster. Senators like you must have the courage to fight for its abolishment. Please write back and let me know what your positions are on each of the above mentioned points and tell me how you will work to abolish the 1872 Mining Law. I sincerely hope you will not cave-in to powerful mining interests on this important issue. Remember, the taxpayers of this nation own the public lands and we expect accountability from our elected representatives. Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

California Native Plant Society - North Coast Chapter
P.O. Box 1067 Arcata, CA 95518-1067
Last updated May 1999