EARTHWORKS

Earthnotes #02

Earthnotes #02

Published: April 22, 2008

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Issue 2 > April 22, 2008



On Tax Day, Mining Companies Paid Less Than Average Taxpayers

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A new report reveals that in addition to posting huge profits, oil, gas and mining companies operating in Colorado are only paying 2% in combined state and severance taxes, while Colorado's taxpayers are paying 4.63% in tax.

The report, prepared by Dr. Robert Ginsburg from the Center on Work and Community Development, urges state and local officials to consider a core principle in mining taxation: the one-time nature of the industry. Mining Taxes in Ten Western States shows that the mining tax regime for most western states is skewed in favor of mining companies -- and against taxpayers.

When the mineral extraction process of these industries is complete, the companies pack up, leaving communities with a significant downturn in their local economy and lost tax revenue. And, too often, additional costs for environmental clean up of polluted land and water.

Dr. Ginsburg's report suggests that a fairer tax system would utilize boom period revenues as a protective measure for the bust cycles of oil, gas and mining dependent communities. Such sovereign or permanent wealth funds are already common in many countries. However, in the western United States, Alaska is the only state with such a fund for oil and gas revenue, but not for mining. [Learn More]


Take Action: Help free the KI Six and Robert Lovelace

Several Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) leaders, -- known as the KI Six, along with Ardoch Algonquin First Nation spokesperson Robert Lovelace -- were sentenced to six months in prison for peacefully asserting their rights. These leaders have been working to demonstrate their communities opposition to proposed platinum mining activities on traditional lands in Northern Ontario. Use your voice to convince Ontario that this heavy-handed approach is unacceptable.


Rise in gold price fails to reflect true costs

Even as gold has reached record prices, consumers continue to demand more responsible sourcing of precious metals, prompting jewelry retailers to endorse the Golden Rules. As of March, 32 retailers and manufacturers of jewelry have signed on to pursue responsible sourcing of precious metals. This list includes all 3 major retailers of university and high-school class rings. [Learn More]


Ecuador on brink of national mining law reform

Our international team continues to work with our partners in Ecuador, where a new mining law is expected by late spring. The Ecuadorean government is reforming its mining policies to better regulate the industry, and is even considering banning large-scale mining to protect important areas. [Learn More]


Feinstein introduces mining reform bill in Senate

Senator Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced S. 2750, the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Act of 2008. The bill would impose a royalty similar to the house-passed bill, HR 2262, on hardrock mines on public lands. The bill uses the funds collected from the royalty, as well as a small reclamation fee on all mining operations, to clean up the 500,000 abandoned mines in this country. [Learn More]

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