Murray Calls for Comprehensive Debate on Mining Law

For Immediate Release: July 16, 1999

(Washington DC)-- Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) today announced that she and Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) will offer an amendment to strike a provision placed in the Senate Interior Appropriations bill by Senator Larry Craig (R-Id) which eliminates limits on the dumping of mining waste on public land. The Murray-Durbin amendment will be offered when the Interior Appropriations bill goes to the floor of the U.S. Senate later this month. Last month, Senator Murray unsuccessfully fought the Craig amendment, offered during full-committee markup of the Interior Appropriations bill.

"The environment and the taxpayers are being cheated by the status quo," said Murray. "Mining law in our country is badly in need of broad reform and modernization and working within the confines of the 1872 Mining Law highlights that point."

Senator Murray joined U.S. Representative Jay Inslee (D-Bainbridge Island), John Leshy of the U.S. Department of the Interior and Stephen D-Esposito of the Mineral Policy Center to discuss comprehensive mining law reform.

"Riders tacked on to appropriations bills do not address all the serious problems associated with the 1872 Mining Law," said Murray. "This law deserves serious debate, not political maneuvering for the sake of a 'quick fix' that only benefits the mining industry."

In May, Senator Murray fought a similar amendment, offered by Senator Slade Gorton (R-Wash.), involving the Crown Jewel mine in Washington state during the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations conference. The amendment, over the objection of Senator Murray, was accepted.