U.S. SENATE News:
- Bill will ensure mining companies pay royalties to help prevent future disasters
Today, at 10 a.m., U.S. Senators Tom Udall, D-N.M., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. and Michael Bennet, D-Colo. and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M. will hold a press conference call to unveil legislation to reform the nation’s antiquated hardrock mining laws.
The senators are introducing the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2015, which will ensure mining companies pay royalties for the privilege of extracting public resources from public lands so that taxpayers aren’t on the hook for cleaning up abandoned mines, many of which are continuously leaking toxic chemicals into water bodies and have the potential for catastrophic disasters like the recent Gold King Mine blowout.
Rep. Luján is a cosponsor of H.R. 963, similar legislation that has been introduced in the House of Representatives.
Current mining law dates back to 1872 and allows companies to take gold, silver, copper, uranium and other minerals from public land without paying any royalties. The lawmakers’ bills would impose a common-sense royalty — similar to that paid by oil and gas and coal companies for decades — to help pay for abandoned mine cleanup and prevent future disasters.
The lawmakers also joined together to introduce the Gold King Mine Spill Recovery Act of 2015 in the House and Senate to ensure the Environmental Protection Agency compensates those who were impacted by the release of toxic wastewater into the Animas and San Juan rivers.