U.S. Bill Calls for U308 Mining Royalties

Source:

"Legislation seeks 12.5% royalty for uranium mining on federal lands."

Two New Mexico Democratic congressman introduced legislation that would shift uranium mining on U.S. federal lands to management through a competitive leasing program rather than the currently used claim and patent system.

Previous legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., calling for investigation of whether uranium should be moved to the Mineral Leasing Act system from the 1872 Mining Law has been blocked in the by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

The new Legislation introduced on Friday by Reps. Heinrich and LujŠn would require a 12.5% royalty for uranium mining on federal lands. The Uranium Resources Steward ship Act would include uranium with other fuels, including coal, oil and gas, which are governed by leasing systems and allow the government to better protect the public's economic and environmental interest, supporters said.

Under current law, uranium miners pay no royalties for minerals taken from public land.

Earthworks Policy Director Lauren Pagel said the 12.5% royalty in the proposed law would allow the industry to contribute to cleaning up old uranium mine sites.

The 1872 Mining Act, passed during the Grant administration to encourage settlement of the West, terms mining the "highest and best" use of public lands over recreation, hunting, fishing and other uses. It also allows sites sacred to Native Americans to be mined while giving tribes little recourse to halt destruction, Earthworks officials said in a statement praising the new legislation.

The group noted that some federal uranium in Colorado is already subject to leasing by the Department of Energy under a program that began in the 1940s to develop reserves of uranium, vanadium and associated minerals for national defense.

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