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With profits soaring for hard-rock mining and oil and gas companies doing business on public lands, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is leading the charge to get the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate whether American taxpayers are getting their fair share.
Two New Mexico Democrats today introduced a bill that would require uranium mining companies to pay a 12.5-percent royalty on federal lands – a move Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado at least favors studying given the growing interest in uranium mining and nuclear power. The Uranium Resources Stewardship Act introduced by U.S. Reps. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján would shift the regulation of uranium mining from the 1872 Mining Law to the Mineral Leasing Act and require royalty payments to federal and state governments similar to those paid by the coal, oil and gas industries.
On the same day a West Virginia lawmaker is expected to introduce the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2009, the Pew Campaign for Responsible Mining today released a report finding industry subsidies could cost American taxpayers up to $1.6 billion dollars in the coming decade.