Sen. Reid Opposes Mining Law Reform

"Nevada Sen. Harry Reid 'is a son-of-a-bitch,' a professional environmentalist in Washington, D.C., griped last week.

It's an epithet that fits many denizens of Congress, especially those who walk over people while climbing to power. Reid, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader, has that kind of toughness, honed by childhood poverty and his father's suicide.

Even Reid's constituents tend to see him that way. He's represented Nevada in the Senate for 22 years, and in the House for four years before that. Yet a Las Vegas Review-Journal poll in June found that only 34 percent of Nevadans have a favorable opinion of him, while 46 percent 'viewed him unfavorably.'

When an environmentalist criticizes Reid, though, it might seem out of line. Reid has voted green on at least 75 percent of the key environmental bills over the last 10 years, according to the League of Conservation Voters.

But sometimes the senator takes spectacularly anti-green positions. He's the political architect of a proposed 6-foot-diameter, 300-mile-long pipeline that would suck up rural groundwater for Las Vegas' use, for instance. Most egregiously, he's the bulwark protecting the decrepit General Mining Act of 1872."

Ray Ring reports for High Country News July 27, 2009.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009