Modern mining? Shouldn’t U.S. law be modernized?

Mining companies such as Tintina Resources love to claim that mines will be safe, thanks to “modern mining.” But if mining has changed so much, shouldn’t Americans, and especially Montanans get a modern mining law?

Mining companies get to operate under a law that is almost 150 years old. The 1872 mining law dates back to a time when very few Europeans inhabited the West so mining destruction and pollution affected few. That’s no longer the case. Few sites are that remote, and mining regularly affects landowners and communities by fouling water sources and destroying wildlife habitat.

Canada has spawned many over-zealous mining companies such as Tintina’s parent company, because it has even fewer protections than the U.S. As a result, it has paid the price with disasters such as the Mount Polley mine spill two years ago.

But now, with new leadership in the governments of Canada and some of its provinces, representatives are meeting for three days to re-evaluate the impacts that should be given greater consideration in an environmental assessment.

According to this MarketWired story: “This important gathering follows commitments from the federal government to address serious gaps and problems in Canada’s current EA framework, which has been widely criticized as a ‘broken system.’  In his mandate letter to Minister McKenna, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on the Minister to “immediately review Canada’s environmental assessment processes to regain public trust” and introduce new, fair processes that restore proper oversight and ensure science-based decision-making.

‘It’s clear that our current system isn’t working. Environmental assessment is a very important issue for Canadians, and now is our chance to get Canada back on track when it comes to making decisions about projects like oil pipelines,’ said Johnston.”

The U.S. and states like Montana that use cookie-cutter environmental assessments should follow suit.