Mining policy in the United States - and especially the West, including Arizona - needs updating from the original legislation passed in 1872, the representative of a Tucson advocacy group says.
Roger Featherstone of the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition says the law is out of date because it puts mining at the top of the list of public land use.
"It sets out that mining is the highest and best use of public land," Featherstone says. "When the law was passed in 1872 the population of the state of Arizona was less than 10,000 people."
Members of the coalition say they are not seeking to ban mining outright. Instead, they say they want new measures adopted and implemented that better reflect the nation's current population, potential economic benefits where mining occurs, and concerns about the environment.
"At the time that the law was passed, open pit mining did not exist," Featherstone says. "Mining was done underground by pick and shovel and mule, now it's an entirely different animal."