The General Mining Act of 1872 is a U.S. federal law that governs mining on federal public lands. It gives hard-rock mining precedence over other uses of federal land regardless of the consequences. The law set the price per acre of land claimed at $2.50-$5.00 per acre and hasn’t changed since. Attempts were made to reform the law in 2007 and 2009, but failed. Michael P. Dombeck, a former chief of the Forest Service, explained to a Senate committee in 2008,
“it is nearly impossible to prohibit mining under the current framework of the 1872 mining law, no matter how serious the impacts might be.”
For more information on a law in serious need of reform, check out the New York Times article at the link below.