On November 21st, 2000, the Bureau of Land Management published updated surface mining regulations that govern hardrock mining, and its environmental impacts, on the publicly owned lands managed by BLM. At 12 AM on January 20th, 2001, hours before George W. Bush was inaugurated, the rule went into effect. Efforts by the Bush administration to obstruct last minute regulations did not block the mining rule.
Cyanide is a chemical lethal to humans in small quantities; a teaspoon of 2% cyanide solution can cause death. Due to a string of spills and accidents, this method of mining using large quantities cyanide to remove microscopic specs of gold from vast amounts of ore or crushed rock is creating more and more controversy.