Tuesday, April 22, 2008

ALBUQUERQUE CITY COUNCIL APPROVES RESOLUTION URGING SENATORS BINGAMAN AND DOMENICI TO REFORM 1872 MINING ACT



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2008
Contact: City Councilor Rey Garduño, (505) 768-3152

(Albuquerque, NM) – Last night on April 21, 2008, by a unanimous vote the Albuquerque City Council sent a message to United State Senators Bingaman and Domenici urging support of a reform to the General Mining Law of 1872. The law, which governs the mining of hard rock minerals on more than 350 million acres of public lands across the country, has remained unchanged for more than 135 years.

“As of December 2006, there were over 6,500 active mining claims in New Mexico, covering and estimated 170,231 acres,” said Garduño. “These mines have polluted our waters and posed threats to New Mexican communities, wildlife, and our states environment, all while the US government has given away $245 billion of minerals through royalty free mining and patenting.”

House Resolution 2662, a bi-partisan bill, that would provide sensible reform and protect fish and wildlife resources on America’s public lands, was passed by the US House of Representatives by a vote of 244-166 on November 1, 2007. Since then, advocates across the country have been awaiting a hearing on the legislation by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee which Senator Bingaman chairs, and in which Senator Domenici serves as the ranking member. Councilor Garduño chose to sponsor R-08-67, because the City of Albuquerque represents a significant portion of each Senators constituency.

Currently, the 1872 Mining Law prevents mining corporations like New Mexico’s Phelps Dodge from paying any federal royalties. In comparison, coal, oil, and gas industries, which also operate on public lands, pay royalties of roughly 12.5%.

Councilor Rey Garduño also states; “This law is badly out of date and puts mining as the highest and greatest use of public lands, ahead of more important public interest. This reform would give land managers, with input from local communities, the right to deny mines that pose threats to public health, provide financial help for cleanup of abandoned mines, protect clean water, and protect highly valued public lands and sacred Native American sites.”

For more information contact City Councilor Rey Garduño at 768-3152 or email at reygarduno@cabq.gov

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3 comments:

tomas garduno said...

Congrats Rey on taking leadership on this important issue. That cartoon is hilarious, but so true!

ilsa garduno said...

Hooray for Rey! Not only he is making public lands safe for hunters and fishing people but helping to save our traditional communities in this great State of Nuevo Mexico.

Javier Benavidez said...

and Councilor, we could not be more grateful for your willingness to take this on at the Albuquerque City Council level. The following morning we sent news of your resolution's passage to our staff in Washington D.C. just as they were preparing to meet with Senator Bingaman / his staff on the issue, so the timing could not have been better! :)