« PreviousContinue »
Hocker, Philip M., president, Mineral Policy Center
ture, accompanied by Pamela Peach, Office of the General Counsel
Snow, Geoffrey G., mining committee chairman, Minerals Exploration Coali-
tion, accompanied by Brad Mills, chairman ..
M. Hocker, president
MINING LAWS OF 1872 AND 1989
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7, 1989
DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTION,
Washington, DC. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:35 p.m. in room SD-366, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Jeff Bingaman, presiding
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JEFF BINGAMAN, U.S. SENATOR
FROM NEW MEXICO Senator BINGAMAN. This afternoon marks the first hearing in Washington this season by the Subcommittee on Mineral Resources Development and Production. I would like to welcome everyone with us today and look forward to the subcommittee taking an active role in many important issues that affect mineral resources during this Congress.
Today we are here to receive testimony on the Mining Law of 1872 and legislation introduced by Senator Bumpers that establishes a regime for the disposition of hard rock minerals on Federal lands.
I look forward to receiving testimony from many parties interested in this subject. While other commitments will unfortunately prevent me from being here for all the testimony this afternoon, I will look forward to reviewing all the comments received.
The Mining Law of 1872 holds a special place in history as legislation from the era of the Homestead Act. The Mining Law has played an important role in the settlement of the West and the development of this Nation's mineral wealth which has been so important to our economic health.
Our standard of living and our national security are heavily dependent upon the availability of these minerals. In my home state of New Mexico, the total value of nonfuel mineral production is estimated to be over $1 billion for 1988, a 37 percent increase from 1987. That is chiefly attributable to an increase in the price of copper.
Employment in my state in the nonfuel mining industry totaled 4,329 in 1988, nearly half of the 9,000 who were employed in 1981. Likewise, total U.S. employment in the metal mining steel and primary nonferrous metals industry dropped from 628,000 in 1980 to 342,000 in 1986.
While the industry is picking up somewhat due to increased mineral prices, I want to be sensitive to the impact that any legislative change might have on an industry struggling to make a comeback. I believe that public land mineral policy needs to encourage exploration, development and production of minerals on Federal lands in a manner that reflects the national interest.
While the national interest in continuing to develop mineral resources in public lands has not changed, I would think everyone in the room would agree that the context in which such mineral development occurs has changed since 1872. As a Nation, we no longer encourage the disposal of publicly owned lands.
As a Nation, we believe that the Federal Government should receive a fair return for resources that are owned by all Americans; and as a Nation, of course, we want our children and grandchildren to inherit a healthy environment.
The United States needs a hardrock mining regime that both encourages mineral production and ensures that these other public policy goals are met. I am interested in learning from today's witnesses whether or not the Mining Law of 1872 meets all of these policy objectives and, if not, how these objectives can be met in a reasonable fashion.
[The text of S. 1126 follows:]
To provide for the disposition of hardrock minerals on Federal lands, and for other
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
JUNE 6 (legislative day, JANUARY 3), 1989 Mr. BUMPERS (for himself, Mr. FOWLER, Mr. RIEGLE, Mr. PRYOR, Mr. Dixon,
Mr. SASSER, Mr. FORD, and Mr. LEVIN) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
A BILL To provide for the disposition of hardrock minerals on Federal
lands, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa
2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
3 SEC. 101. SHORT TITLE.
That this Act may be referred to as the "Mining Law of