National Mining Association

For additional information, please contact:

John Grasser: 202/463-2651

Karen Batra: 202/463-2651


May 9, 2000

The following is a statement by NMA President and CEO Richard L. Lawson on the Administration's Public Lands Withdrawal Plan as outlined by the U.S. Forest Service today:

"The American people again are the losers in the latest land-grab initiative proposed by the Clinton-Gore administration. The 'Roadless Area' land withdrawal turns a cold shoulder to the rights of American citizens by dictating the removal of 40 to 60 million acres of land from public use without adequate input from the American Public or Congress.

"The Roadless Area proposal issued by the U. S. Forest Service defies logic and flies in the face of decades of federal law that requires the government to strike a balance among a variety of resource uses and values. The forest service proposal would deny access to public lands for recreation, wildfire control and disease prevention, as well as resource development essential for an American public that consumes 46,000 pounds of newly mined minerals each year.

"Clearly, the Clinton/Gore administration intends to take from the American people millions of dollars in well-paying jobs and economic revenue by driving all natural resource development off-shore.

"Mining has touched less than one-quarter of 1 percent of all U.S. land, but by further reducing the amount of land available for mineral exploration, federal, state and local governments will continue to be deprived of hundreds of million of dollars in tax payments. Also, thousands of high-paying jobs that would have been created in the United States, will instead be created overseas.

"The Clinton/Gore Administration has repeatedly refused to accept meaningful public input or even discuss these proposals with elected state and local officials from the affected areas in dealing with our country's public lands.

"Their continued withdrawal of public lands, at best, ignores the statutorily mandated principle of multiple use and, at worse, poses an insidious threat to America's economic and national security interests."

The U.S. mining industry produces coal, metals, building materials, and many other essential minerals that define the daily lives of 267 million Americans. The mining industry generates over $500 billion in total economic benefit each year and helps to sustain nearly 5 million U.S. jobs.


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