Opponents of Grijalva mining act say it will blow up the industry

By Kailey Broussard | Cronkite News 

A House committee gave preliminary approval Wednesday to an overhaul of a 147-year-old federal mining law that supporters called “antiquated,” while opponents called the update a “point-blank” blow to the mining industry.

The Hardrock Leasing and Reclamation Act would protect national parks and tribal areas from being leased for mining, increase mining royalties and create a fund to clean abandoned mines, among other measures.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Tucson, said it is “about bringing mining into the 21st century.”

U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva
/Ron Medvescek / Arizona Daily Star

But Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee blasted the bill as a threat to the mining industry. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, called it little more than a politically motivated bill that has no chance of getting through the Senate or signed by the president.

“It is clear what the true motive of my colleagues is with this bill: To put every mine in the United States out of business,” Gosar said before the committee vote on the bill.

Grijalva called those concerns overblown — and familiar.

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