Terra Verde

Digging into the 150-Year-Old Hardrock Mining Law

Photo of an Arizona copper mine by drburtoni / Flickr.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the United States’ hardrock mining law. The law, signed by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, regulates mining of metals like gold, copper, uranium, lithium, and more on some 350 million acres of federal public land. The law hasn’t changed much in the past 150 years. Meanwhile, the mining industry has changed significantly. And it is operating at great expense to the environment, local communities, and taxpayers.

Bonnie Gestring, Northwest Program Director for Earthworks, and Blaine Miller-McFeeley, Senior Legislative Representative with Earthjustice join Terra Verde host and Earth Island Journal Managing Editor Zoe Loftus-Farren to discuss the environmental impacts of hard-rock mining in the United States, gaps in regulation, and efforts to close those gaps.