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Public Lands Giveaway


mattp
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Jim wrote:

 

These guys have no shame:

 

More than 50,000 acres of old mining claims in Washington -- including some inside Mount Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades national parks -- could be converted to private land under legislation expected to pass the U.S. House next week.

 

The proposal also would open up millions of acres in Washington's national forests -- and more than 350 million acres across the West -- to be newly privatized under a revision of the 1872 Mining Law tucked into a 184-page budget bill.

 

Critics who have dissected the language of the bill say it would make it easy to use a law passed 133 years ago to speed development of ski resorts, golf courses and the like in the backcountry today.

 

Seattle PI Article

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Case in point:

 

Shi Shi Beach is hailed by outdoors enthusiasts as one of the most beautiful, pristine beaches in America. But a worst-case scenario now looms over this Olympic Peninsula gem: that it will be opened up to private mining interests.

 

Shi Shi is essentially being held for ransom by the heirs of a man who bought the mineral rights beneath the beach’s surface back in 1928 – 58 years before it was deeded to Olympic National Park.

 

http://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/story/5351660p-4844325c.html

The heirs, the Watson brothers of Mount Vernon, want the U.S. Park Service to pay them $30 million for their rights to the gold, platinum, oil and natural gas under the beach. If they don’t get it, they’re threatening to sell the rights to a mining operation that might be much more serious about trying to exploit those rights than the Watsons have been.

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We are in the BEGINNING stages of the darkest period of American history. Our government is all but completely controlled by corporate interests. The American public will be looked upon by history as willing stooges. It is corporate fascism. Get used to it.

Or vote.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good news!

 

Apparently bowing to pressure from a wide range of groups (it is hard to label all the hunters and fishers in the West as "environmental extremists") Gibbons and Pombo have removed the land sale provisions from the Mining Law changes that they buried in the Budget Reconcilliation Bill. However, according to a press release from Pombo's Resources Committee, the following provisions remain:

 

The updated language in the mining provision will:

 

* Lift the patenting moratorium on federal lands

* Patenting requires discovery of a valuable mineral [s.1932, pg. 532, line 10-12]

* Increase patenting costs from $2.50 to $5.00 an acre to a minimum of $1,000 an acre or fair market value, which ever is more

* Prohibits patenting of claims within any unit of the National Park System, National Wildlife Refuge System, National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, or National Trails System, or any National Conservation Area, National Recreation Area, any National Monument, or any unit of the National Wilderness Preservation System

 

Given the lack of truth and candor in previous Resource Committtee pronouncements, I want to read the bill before I believe it. Better yet, I would love to have the same group of professors who analyzed the previous version take another pass on this one. It was their analysis that convinced me I have been right all along: the web that the Resources Committee spins is a web of half-truths and deceipt.

 

Pombo Watch webpage, December 13, 2005

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Here is another example of a dirtbag...

 

The Senate blocked an attempt to open an Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling Wednesday, foiling an attempt by drilling backers to force the measure through Congress as part of a must-have defense spending bill. It was a stinging defeat for Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, one of the Senate's most powerful members, who had given senators a choice to support the Alaska drilling measure, or risk the political fallout of voting against money for American troops and for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

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