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PNS Daily Newscast - August 5, 2020 

A massive explosion kills dozens and injures thousands in Beirut; and child care is key to getting Americans back to work.

2020Talks - August 5, 2020 

Election experts testify before the US House that more funding is necessary. And Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington state had primaries yesterday; Hawaii and Tennessee have them later this week.

"Wild West" Mining Law Scrutinized Today in MT

January 15, 2008

Helena, MT – Montana's "Wild West" history is being scrutinized today, as local leaders meet to detail the need to update the federal 1872 mining law that covers public land in Montana.

Stan Frasier with the Montana Wildlife Federation says Big Sky Country is all too familiar with the pollution from hardrock mines. There are already thousands of abandoned mine sites in the state, and with the pressure for more mining because of rising gold prices, he says companies need to be held responsible.

"They've always done part of the job. They take the minerals, they take the value, they take the profits, and when the profits run out they abandon their mess and leave it for the taxpayers to clean up."

Frasier says cleaning up current abandoned mines in the West will cost at least $50 billion, and that doesn't repair all the mine-generated pollution.

"It has damaged thousands of miles of Montana's trout streams. They're virtually sterilized because of acid runoff from some of these old mines."

Tribal leaders and county officials are among those meeting at the Capitol today to talk about the kinds of updates needed for the law. Opponents say reforms go too far and could hurt the economy.

Similar gatherings are taking place throughout the West. Montana Sen. Jon Tester is a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which will hold a hearing Jan. 24 on reforming the 1872 law. The U.S. House already has approved reforms.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MT