One of the better Clinton Admin environmental decisions was the one that kept the amount of land that could be used for the dumping of mining waste to a minimum. Besides cutting down the amount of waste and therefore the damage it could do, strictly limiting the amount of dumping-land virtually put an end to strip mining, which needs voluminous areas for dumping grounds seeing that, as a mining technique, mostly what it produces is waste.
The Interior Department yesterday overturned a policy that had strictly limited the amount of public land that can be used for dumping mining waste, which federal reports say is the largest volume of toxic material unleashed annually in this country.The Clinton-era interpretation of the General Mining Law of 1872 had helped torpedo plans to open the first major open-pit mine in Washington state. That style of mining, which grew in recent decades as mining companies went after less-rich deposits, sometimes creates craters large enough to be seen from outer space and deep enough to hide the Space Needle.
“It’s pretty outrageous,” said John Leshy, a mining law expert who, as head lawyer in Clinton’s Interior Department, wrote the ruling that was overturned. “My (legal) opinion was out there for six years. Nobody took it to court. Why not? Because they were afraid they would lose.
“So they went to their friends in the administration and had them change it.”
Republican campaign ad due to appear soon, starting in Idaho:
“Hello. friends. Are you sick and tired of seeing the riches underground go to waste because tree-huggers and enviro-terrorists and *gasp* secular humanists have used the ‘liberal media’ (TradeMark Term–American Enterprise Institute) and ‘radical left-wing judges’ (TM Term–Conservative Law Foundation) to stop YOUR business from profiting handsomely through a simple environmental rape, no big deal, really?
“Then call 1-800-Georgie today. He’s ready to help. For a mere few dollars’ in tax-deductible donations, George and his friendly associates will arrange to have the rules and even the laws changed with a single swipe of his powerful pen. No Congressional purchase necessary–you go right to the TOP. We take the legal muss-and-fuss out of your scorched-earth policy.
“Prices start at a LOW LOW LOW $100K for a simple rule change. If that’s not enough, $500K will get you an Executive Order personally autographed by George himself, and for only a $1M donation to the Bush for National CEO Committee, we can guarantee that the EPA will NOT prosecute–or even notice–when your company breaks environmental laws that we haven’t gotten around to gutting yet.
“Yes, you heard right: For only $1MILLION$, we GUARANTEE that you will be immune from prosecution NO MATTER WHAT LAWS YOU BREAK! Try getting a deal like that from the Democrats!
“So call 1-800-Georgie today and start strip-mining tomorrow.
“We’re on YOUR side.”
Democrats responded to the potential ad by claiming that the implication that they don’t have a competetive price structure is a flat-out falsehood and typically outrageous Repuiblican demogoguery.
“We will too make a deal,” Tom Daschle whined. “We’re flexible.”
Informed of the Democratic statement, Interior Secretary Gale Norton laughed ’til her sides hurt.