State officials update Idaho's 50-year-old mining laws

Rewrite comes just ahead of Aug. 1 deadline
Posted at 9:04 AM, Jul 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 11:04:47-04

BOISE, Ida. — State officials have approved a rewrite of Idaho's 50-year-old mining law.

Republican Gov. Brad Little and other members of the Idaho Land Board voted Tuesday to adopt rules intended to give mining companies the financial leeway to mine but also avoid leaving Idaho taxpayers paying for cleanup costs if a mining company goes bankrupt.

The rules take effect immediately and come ahead of an Aug. 1 deadline set by the Legislature earlier this year.

The Idaho Department of Lands plans to continue working on additional changes to the rules with public comments and bring them before lawmakers for their approval in the 2020 legislative session.

Austin Walkins of the Idaho Conservation League, an environmental watchdog group, says he's optimistic the final product in 2020 will fill in gaps caused by the approaching August deadline.