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When Congress approved the rules governing the nation’s mining operations, Ulysses S. Grant was in the White House, George Armstrong Custer was fighting Native Americans and Congress was looking for ways to encourage greater settlement of the nation’s vast frontier.
A lot has changed since the General Mining Law was passed in 1872, but very little has changed about the law itself. Those who want it to be modernized say this finally may be the year they get reform.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., has introduced a reform bill, and House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., already has held a hearing on his own legislation.