Washington, D.C., July 20 -- A new study of U.S. gold mines’ operating records reveals that major gold mines surveyed by the United States Geological Survey have spilled contaminants, and 74% polluted water with cyanide, arsenic, nitrates or other hazardous materials. Earthworks and Great Basin Resource Watch released U.S. Gold Mines: Spills & Failures Report the same day the House Natural Resources Committee holds an oversight hearing on mining reform.
Testimony of Lauren Pagel, Earthworks’ Policy Director, before House Natural Resources’ subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources oversight hearing titled “Seeking
Innovative Solutions for the Future of Hardrock Mining”
Last month, the United States Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) published its first report. The good news is that the numbers match up well. A multi-stakeholder group (MSG) of industry, government, and civil society representatives decides which revenue streams the report will include. The Department of Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) unilaterally disclosed all 2013 payments received from companies on public lands and waters. Unfortunately, only a disappointing 12% of eligible companies agreed to have their Internal Revenue Service (IRS) corporate income tax payments reconciled.
Last week, Senators Udall, Bennet, Heinrich, Markey, and Wyden introduced the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2015 (1872 reform). Pegged as the solution to preventing future Animas River disasters, this legislation will reform the antiquated General Mining Law of 1872 and bring the hardrock mining industry in to the 21st century.