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Old 11-18-2005   #1
Pueblo, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 5
Public Land Giveaway

There is an urgent issue regarding the fate of our national forests, national parks, wilderness areas and their rivers, which is getting far too little media attention.
The US House just passed a budget bill this am which contains a provision allowing for sale of public land to mining companies for $1000 and acre. It is speculated that the land will not only be sold to mining corporations, but to real estate developers as well.
The truly disgusting, but not surprising, thing about the provision is that it was written by Reps. Pombo and Gibbons, who have strong ties (Pombo's PAC got almost $200,000 from mining interests last year alone) to mining corporations and developers.
The bill will now go to a committee for arbitration prior to final approval by Congress.
Now is the time to e-mail your senators and representatives.
Hope to see you all on the river or slopes!

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Old 11-18-2005   #2
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dropzone, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 845
nice post -- this is a big issue that is flying under the radar compared with other environmental topics. a good discussion of this can be found at (green bias, obviously). this will affect all of us, now is the time to comment....

edit: save your comments for the senate, after their T-day recess cause this passed the house today...

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Old 11-18-2005   #3
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Thought-criminal, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 989
Everyone's been so fired up about the arctic and this shit's in our own backyard. These sunzabitches must be stopped. Goddam republicans won't stop until it's all concrete and strip mines from sea to shining sea. Then they won't ever have to get their suv's dirty.
I hope in the future Americans are thought of as a warlike, vicious people, because I bet a lot of high schools would pick "Americans" as their mascot. -Jack Handy
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Old 11-18-2005   #4
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 206
Actually this is based on an old law from the 1800's. Congress put a moratorium on new patent applications in the early 90's. There are still a few applications that were submitted before the moratorium that still haven't been processed, some of them have been denied and recently a couple have been accepted, but no new applications have been accepted since the moratorium. The patents give them the right to use the land for mining but does not give them outright ownership. Mining patents can not be used for real estate or any other personal or business use other than mining. You see alot of ads in little local papers and online for Colorado mining patents that are advertised as a way to get land cheap to build your summer cabin on. The reality is this:

Here is the official BLM status for mining patents, read towards the bottom:

Another BLM link:

From what I have read, almost no one in congress is in favor of changing this.
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Old 11-19-2005   #5
Pueblo, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 5
A mining claim can be the first step to ownership

Quote from the BLM site:

How does the BLM select land that might be offered for sale?

Through our land-use planning process, BLM identifies parcels in one of the following categories:

scattered and isolated tracts that are difficult or uneconomical for BLM to manage;
;tracts acquired by BLM for a specific purpose that are no longer needed for that purpose
land where disposal will serve important public objectives, such as community expansion and economic development.

Not to mention the construction of roads, plumbing, electrical access, etc required to mine a parcel will permanently alter the land, even if no mining actually is done.

A key change in current (or historical) policy in the Pombo provision is the abillity to buy a mining claim without proving that minerals to mine even exist on the land in question. This can be a loophole for developers to stake a bogus claim, permanently alter the land with roads, etc, then buy the right to develop real estate on the land from the BLM as it not would now likely qualify as "land where disposal will serve important public objectives, such as community expansion and economic development.."

--a very underhanded an cynical way to exploit the public's land, but nontheless a great oppurtunity for corporations to further prosper.
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Old 11-28-2005   #6
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 112
The Denver Post article

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