Nearly a century and a half ago, as part of Washington’s effort to encourage settlement in the West, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the General Mining Act of 1872. This granted individuals (and corporations) the right to stake exclusive claims to mineral resources like gold, copper, zinc, cinnabar, and “other valuable resources” on public land, which today include uranium and platinum. Since then, it’s estimated that about $300 billion in minerals have been extracted with no royalty paid to the government. And the way federal land managers currently operate, preference is given to mining over all other land uses, including everything from recreation to protection of drinking water supplies.
LINK (via: Red Green and Blue)