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An environmental watchdog group based in Washington, D.C., will hold a conference in Salt Lake City this weekend to discuss new strategies for reforming laws that govern hard-rock mining in the United States.

The Mineral Policy Center, co-founded by former Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, has called the conference. Some 60 grassroots groups, including the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, are co-sponsoring the event.The conference begins Friday, April 21, and runs through Sunday at University Park Hotel,

A major topic will be reform of the 1872 Mining Law, which environmentalists believe has allowed mining companies to ravage public lands at taxpayers' expense.

Speakers at the conference include Phil Hocker, center director, who last year incurred the wrath of Utah officials when he suggested that their lax regulatory practices caused numerous environmental problems.

For more information, call the center at 202-887-1872.