Environmental Initiatives

Media Inquiries

If you are a journalist and would like additional information, please visit the Media Contacts page.

Media Contacts

Subscribe to News Feeds

Pew offers news delivered to your desktop via RSS feed. Subscribing is easy. To learn more or get started, follow the link below.

Subscribe to News Feeds

For The Record

When Pew’s work is questioned or criticized we respond through letters to the editor or op-eds.

Read Pew's Responses

Obama Protects Another Treasure from Mining

Other Resource

Forest Service Moves Forward with Mining Ban in Oregon’s Chetco Watershed 

Read the Report

Ten Treasures at Stake

 

A year ago, as conservationists cheered from coast to coast, the Obama administration ordered a ban on new mining claims on national forest and other public land around the Grand Canyon. Now, action is being taken to protect another of the 10 landscapes named by Pew as threatened by mining: the Siskiyou Wild Rivers in Oregon.

On January 25, the U.S. Forest Service called for a five-year extension of a temporary mining claims ban on more than 5,000 acres of the Chetco Wild and Scenic River, part of the Siskiyou Wild Rivers complex and some of the most sensitive, diverse habitat on the Pacific Coast. Prized by fishing enthusiasts and river rafters, the area has also been targeted by suction-dredge gold mining operators, an activity that harms the gravel beds where salmon and steelhead lay their eggs. Citing Pew’s research, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced legislation in the 112th Congress to permanently protect the Chetco from new mining claims, and Congress may see similar legislation this session.

Chetco River

The trouble for some of America’s most treasured national parks and other public lands, Pew’s 10 Treasures at Stake report notes, comes from combining the new mining boom with a very old law. While the Chetco and Grand Canyon have a reprieve, many other national parks and treasured landscapes remain at risk from the 1872 Mining Law, which gives mining companies “free and open access” to nearly 350 million acres of public land, including areas surrounding national parks and monuments. Goldand other hardrock mine operators release more contaminants each year than any other industrial sector, by a wide margin. Industry data indicate that in 2011, mining was responsible for 46 percent of all U.S. toxic releases. American taxpayers shoulder much of the cost to clean up this pollution, and receive no royalties for metals mined on federal land, even though oil, gas, and coal companies have paid royalties for decades. The Congressional Research Service estimates that in 2010 alone, more than $2.4 billion in gold and other precious metals was taken without taxpayer compensation.

As new claimstaking continues near treasured American lands, places like Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Arches, and Canyonlands National Parks remain at risk. Unfortunately, congressional attempts to modernize the 1872 mining law have so far been unsuccessful. Until this antiquated statute is brought up to date, bans issued by the administration, like those at Grand Canyon and the Chetco River, will be one of the few available routes to protecting these special places from mining.

 

Related News and Resources

  • Pew Anugerah Saintis Mamalia Malaysia Fellowship Pemuliharaan Marin 2014

    • Press Release
    • Mar 12, 2014
    Louisa Shobhini Ponnampalam, Ph.D., seorang saintis di Universiti Malaya di Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, dan pengasas bersama akar umbi NGO, The MareCet Research Organization, telah dianugerahkan Fellowship Pew 2014 dalam bidang Pemuliharaan Marin untuk menjalankan kajian baru ke atas populasi dugong di negara ini. Dugong adalah mamalia marin pantai yang besar yang menyerupai manati.

    More

  • Scientists Call on White House to Protect Bristol Bay Watershed from Mining

    • Other Resource
    • Apr 26, 2013
    More than 300 leading scientists sent a letter to the White House on April 26, 2013 expressing “deep concerns” about the prospect of large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed of Southwest Alaska, home to the world’s largest wild salmon runs.

    More

  • Leading Scientists Back U.S. Efforts to Protect World's Largest Salmon Fishery

    • Press Release
    • Apr 26, 2013
    More than 300 leading scientists sent a letter to the White House today expressing “deep concerns” about the prospect of large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed of Southwest Alaska, home to the world’s largest wild salmon runs.

    More

  • Your Wilderness -- March 2013

    • Compilation
    • Mar 12, 2013
    In this monthly issue of Your Wilderness includes the latest wilderness news, including a featured wilderness area in Colorado, a profile of the nominee for secratary of the interior, and the status of wilderness legislation in Congress.

    More

  • Bristol Bay, Alaska: Is This the Place for a Mine Larger Than Manhattan?

    • Fact Sheet
    • Sep 13, 2012

    In the coming months, the Obama administration will determine whether a colossal open-pit gold and copper excavation project, known as Pebble Mine, can be built in the biologically rich and remote wildlands of Southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed.

    More

  • Where Mining Does not Belong: Bristol Bay, Alaska

    • Other Resource
    • Aug 03, 2012

    The Bristol Bay watershed, located in the remote wild lands of Southwest Alaska, supports the largest wild salmon runs in the world. It also is home to brown bears, bald eagles, beluga whales, and a wide variety of waterfowl. The area’s pristine mountains, meadows, rivers, and lakes sustain a subsistence-based economy for Native Alaskans as well as world-class sport and commercial fishing.

    More

  • Enviros Begin Pressing U.S. to Block New Gold Mining Claims

    • Media Coverage
    • Mar 20, 2012

    (E&E News) Having seen the Obama administration ban new mining claims near the Grand Canyon, environmentalists are promoting similar restrictions for gold exploration around Yosemite National Park.

    More

  • A 'Grand' Gesture

    • Opinion
    • Jan 23, 2012

    Although the Grand Canyon was given a reprieve, other treasured landscapes remain at risk. That's because mining for uranium, gold and other hardrock minerals is governed by a law signed by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872 to encourage development of the frontier.

    More

  • Grand Canyon Safe from Uranium Mining

    • Media Coverage
    • Jan 14, 2012

    (Living on Earth) Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently signed a 20 year moratorium on mining for uranium near the Grand Canyon National Park. Jane Danowitz of the Pew Environment Group tells host Bruce Gellerman that it would protect close to the park but surrounding lands are still under threat.

    More

  • U.S. Bans New Grand Canyon Uranium-Mining Claims

    • Media Coverage
    • Jan 09, 2012

    (LA Times) Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Monday a final decision to impose 20-year ban on new mining claims on 1 million acres surrounding the Grand Canyon, an area where uranium mining stakes have spiked 2,000% in the last seven years.

    More

  • Obama Bans Uranium Mining Around Grand Canyon

    • Media Coverage
    • Jan 09, 2012

    (Reuters) The Obama administration banned new uranium mining claims around the Grand Canyon for the next 20 years, a move hailed by conservationists on Monday as key to the president's environmental legacy but slammed by opponents as a job-killer.

    More

  • New 20-Year Ban on Mining Near Grand Canyon Finalized

    • Media Coverage
    • Jan 09, 2012

    (AP) Fending off pressure from the mining industry and congressional Republicans, the Obama administration is moving forward with a plan to ban new uranium mining claims on 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon.

    More

  • Obama Administration Orders Long-Term Grand Canyon Mining Ban

    • Press Release
    • Jan 09, 2012

    Jane Danowitz, U.S. public lands director for the Pew Environment Group, issued the following statement today in reaction to the signing of a record of decision by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to bar new mining claims on nearly 1 million acres of public land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park.

    More

  • Obama Holds Strong to Protect Grand Canyon from Uranium Mining

    • Media Coverage
    • Jan 09, 2012

    (The Guardian) The Obama administration is set to give protection to one of the world's natural wonders, by banning uranium mining on 1m square acres of land around the Grand Canyon.

    More

  • Grand Canyon Uranium Mining Claims to be Banned as Obama Tries to Protect National Treasure

    • Media Coverage
    • Jan 09, 2012

    (Daily Mail) The Obama administration is moving forward with a controversial plan to ban new uranium mining claims on 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon.

    More

See more...

X
Sign In

Member Sign In

Forgot Password?
Submit Not a Member? Join!
X

Forgot Password?

Send Password Not a Member? Join!
X

Change Password

X
(All Fields are required)
Send Message
Share this on: