Congress moves to enhance mining rights on federal land
Credit: Pexels/Pixabay

Congress moves to enhance mining rights on federal land

A bipartisan bill expanding legal rights for mining companies on federal lands has passed the House and is progressing in the Senate.

Esther Frances, Megija Medne, and Phillip Powell report for Inside Climate News.


In short:

  • The Mining Regulatory Clarity Act passed the House with bipartisan support and now awaits Senate approval.
  • The bill aims to overturn a 2022 court decision that restricted mining waste dumping on federal lands without a valid mineral claim.
  • Environmental and Indigenous groups argue the legislation threatens sacred lands and critical environmental protections.

Key quote:

“It makes no sense on its face, that a mining company can dump toxic waste on areas where they have no claims on public land.”

— Laiken Jordahl, Southwest conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity

Why this matters:

The proposed legislation could significantly weaken environmental safeguards and legal precedents protecting public and Indigenous lands from unregulated mining activities. Federal lands are often home to unique ecosystems and wildlife, and increased mining activities could lead to habitat destruction, water contamination, and increased carbon emissions.

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