Mount Rushmore is threatened by nearby mining operations in South Dakota, according to a new report. The Pew Environmental Group lists Mount Rushmore as one of 10 national treasures threatened by mining operations authorized by the 1872 Mining Act.
The Pew report used data from the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that says more than 40 active gold mines can remain in operation within five miles of Mount Rushmore in the southern Black Hills.
One man tasked with protecting the area around the monument was not overly concerned about the new report, according to the Rapid City Journal. “I’d call most of these mining claims ‘mom and pop operations.’ And with the price of gold nowadays, it has spiked everybody’s interest,” said Ralf Adam, the forest and minerals manager for the Black Hills National Forest in Custer, S.D.
Others aren’t so sure. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) says this report outlines the need for the federal government to bring its mining regulations up to date. "This law was enacted when President [Ulysses S.] Grant was in office more than a hundred years ago, and obviously a lot has changed since that time," Johnson said before advocating that Congress update the 1872 Mining Act.
The full list includes Mount Rushmore, Colorado’s Dinosaur National Monument, Arches and Canyonlands national parks in Utah, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Joshua Tree national parks, Mount St. Helens, Siskiyou Wild Rivers in Oregon and Gila Wilderness in New Mexico.