The Hill reports today on the fight to reform the mining laws. The Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act, sponsored by Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), has conservation groups facing off with mine corporations. The House is set to vote on the bill today. What’s at stake is whether the federal government will impose royalties on mining operations that dig for copper, gold, silver and other hard-rock minerals on federal land. Unlike coal mining and oil and gas developers who all pay royalties for using federal land and resources, hard-rock mining operations have never paid the government a dime. The current law is grossly outdated, does nothing to protect the land from despoilment, and is a huge rip off of the government and the taxpayer.
For 135 years, the mining industry has been allowed to walk away with gold, silver and other precious metals from federal lands without paying any compensation to federal taxpayers. Here’s a handy "School House Rock" -style video that helps explains it all.
Mining companies, which face a number of bills they consider harmful to their interests, have boosted lobbying and advertising budgets, The Hill reports, and are donating more money to Democratic candidates than in recent years, when they heavily favored Republicans.
I hear a database is in the works that will reveal the details of mining subsidies. Can’t wait.