EARTHWORKS

Grijalva, Markey, Holt Introduce Mining Reform Bill to Increase Transparency, Collect Royalties Following GAO Report on Failures

Earthworks

June 21, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva, Ed Markey and Rush Holt yesterday introduced the Abandoned Mine Lands Cleanup and Taxpayer Fairness Act, a bill to modernize U.S. mining law and establish a royalty program to increase taxpayer return on investment. The bill is a response to the findings of a Government Accountability Office report Grijalva and Sen. Tom Udall requested in 2011 and received earlier this year. You can read more about the report at http://1.usa.gov/VCsOZS.

The bill addresses shortcomings identified by GAO in several key areas. Among other provisions, the bill:

The full language of the bill is available at http://1.usa.gov/19nx3lg.

“This is about improving our financial picture, our environment and our corporate governance practices all at the same time,” Grijalva said. “This industry has been enjoying outdated loopholes and keeping billions of dollars that other industries have paid back to the public. We need to start reclaiming land, cleaning up our landscapes and reinvesting in jobs, and this bill is the right way to go. The public demands action on the economy. This is what action looks like.”

“It’s time for a modern mining law that recognizes that some places need to be protected from mining, gives taxpayers a fair return, and ensures that companies act responsibly today and in the future,” said Lauren Pagel, policy director for Earthworks. This bill stops multi-billion-dollar giveaways to foreign mining companies, gives the public a say in where mining should occur on public land, and protects our increasingly scarce drinking water. It says enough is enough. And we couldn’t agree more.”

1 - As the GAO report found, “Federal agencies generally do not collect data from hardrock mine operators on the amount and value of hardrock minerals extracted from federal land because there is no federal royalty that would necessitate doing so. For example, as we reported in 2008, Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey collects extensive data on mineral production through its annual surveys, but it does not collect data that would allow it to determine what proportion of this production came from federal land.”


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