1993 Scorecard Vote
In a further effort to reform the 1872 Mining Law, Sen. Dale Bumpers (D-AK) has introduced S. 257, the Mineral Exploration and Development Act of 1993. While S. Res. 18 (see Senate vote No. 1) would affect the federal budget, Bumpers bill lays out more specific financial and environmental reforms.
Among its many reforms, the bill would charge an 8% royalty on minerals produced on public land; abolish the below-cost sale of public lands through ""patenting;"" give land managers the ability to deny environmentally damaging mining permits and set aside areas as unsuitable for mining; set strict environmental requirements on mining operations; require reclamation after mining; require inspection and mandatory enforcement; provide the public with the right to file lawsuits; and fund a program to begin cleaning up hundreds of thousands of abandoned hard rock mines. S. 257 closely resembles HR. 322, the comprehensive reform bill that overwhelmingly passed in the House in November 1993 (see House vote No. 3).
The Senate has avoided taking action on S. 257 by instead passing S. 775, an industry supported ""sham reform"" bill sponsored by Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID). It would maintain virtually intact the wasteful and destructive mining practices sanctioned by the 1872 Mining Law. The League considers cosponsorship of S. 257 to be an important pro-environmental action. Currently 28 senators have cosponsored this legislation.