Change in 1872 law could bring in millions

Nov. 10, 2005 at 9:30 AM

ASHLAND, Ore., Nov. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Congress is looking at changing a law from the 1870s that allows companies to stake claims on precious-metal laden land for $2.50 an acre.

The change, supporters told the Christian Science Monitor, would bring millions to local communities for schools and infrastructure. Opponents say it would set off a land grab of federally owned areas.

A law passed in 1872 allowed for the staking of land -- usually by individual prospectors -- for $2.50 an acre. But as technology changed, small stakes became much larger enterprises.

A measure proposed by Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., would increase that to a fee of at least $1,000 per acre to privatize the land, the Monitor said. Supporters say such a move could be worth $158 million to the U.S. government over five years.

Opponents to privatization told the newspaper they would rather see industries pay a royalty on the land, similar to the 8 percent royalties paid by coal miners and oil producers. This method, the Monitor said, could generate government income of $350 million over five years.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Topics: Jim Gibbons
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Greek referendum: 'No' vote leads early results, opinion polls
Russian resupply spacecraft docks onto ISS to deliver needed provisions
Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa targeted heavily in airstrikes
Prison escapee David Sweat returned to maximum security prison