Monday, November 12, 2012

Mine-Law School 3

Environmental law was the topic for the third session of the Mini-Law School at the University of Colorado. The lecture focused on natural resources but not pollution control. The foundation for federal law in this area goes back to the Hardrock Mining Law of 1872, which has remained primarily unchanged for 140 years. The professor then analyzed the January, 2012, decision by Secretary on the Interior Salazar to withdraw over a million acres of land near the Grand Canyon from new mining claims. Mining claims can be filed on Federal land unless there is a withdrawal, and this one targeted uranium mining. Existing claims can continue to be worked, but no new claims can be made for twenty years. A permanent withdrawal would have required legislation, which in today’s polarized climate would have been impossible. Under the Federal Land Policy Management Act, land can be withdrawn for up to twenty years through an executive decision. Message: you have to know the system.

Mike Befeler

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