ELKO — After years of talks between environmentalists and mining interests, the controversial effort to change the more than century-old law that regulates mining in the United States might finally come to fruition in Congress in 2010.
Aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid say the Nevada Democrat remains committed to ensuring any changes in the 1872 Mining Law is balanced and protects mining jobs in rural communities.
Observers say Reid has indicated he might end up offering his own version of a reform proposal.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico is leading the broadest plan through the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which he leads.
Cathy Carlson of the group Earthworks says Bingaman told conservationists that he hopes to move the bill out of committee in April.