WASHINGTON, DC -- A long-awaited National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study on regulation of hardrock mining on federal lands released today concludes that the existing federal and state regulations on mining are effective and protective of the environment. Idaho Senator Larry Craig was instrumental in gaining $800,000 in last year's Interior Appropriations bill to fund the study.
"The NAS study should lay to rest any further debate about the Department of the Interior's efforts to rewrite its mining regulations," Craig said. "No more time or taxpayer money should be wasted writing overlapping and redundant federal regulations that independent experts have now concluded are unnecessary."
The study was commissioned last year after many western Senators and Governors expressed that new regulations for mines on federal lands would be disruptive and unneeded. For example, a Craig amendment to the fiscal year 2000 Interior Appropriations bill nullifies a Department of the Interior solicitor's opinion which would have severely affected mining operations in Idaho and across the west by limiting mill sites at mining operations. States currently have their own regulatory programs for mining and work closely with the Department of the Interior's long-standing existing rules.
"I have left my door open to this administration to work on comprehensive
mining law reform yet they refuse to come to the table," Craig said. "I call
upon Secretary Babbit to finally submit to Congress a legitimate legislative
proposal and to end the Department of the Interior's regulatory sleight of hand.
Until that time, Congress and the public will not be bullied by this
administration's campaign to stop mining on public lands."