May 10, 1872:
U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signs the General Mining Act of 1872
. The law, which is largely unchanged to this today, still allows hardrock mining claims on federal lands for as little as $5 per acre and leaves U.S. taxpayers largely responsible for cleanup of abandoned mine sites.
May 10, 2000:
Los Alamos, N.M., the laboratory town created for the Manhattan Project and the creation of the first nuclear weapons, is evacuated as a wildfire destroys nearly 300 homes
in the town. The Cerro Grande fire is the result of a "controlled burn" that went out of control (at right). Intentionally set fires are a standard tool used by foresters to prevent larger wildfires.
May 10, 2007:
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issues its list of the "Dirty Thirty
" — the most polluting electric power plants in Europe. The U.K. and Germany each have 10 plants on the list, but Greece claims the dirtiest two. All 30 qualifiers are coal-burning plants.