Hard Rock Mining Bill: Making Life More Expensive

By October 30, 2007Miscellaneous

NAM members on our Key Vote Committee have given close study to H.R. 2262, the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007, which is expected to come to the House floor in the next day or so. (Key Votes are used in determining a Member of Congress’ support for manufacturing issues at the end of a session.) The conclusion: The legislation makes supply of raw materials more expensive not only through higher taxes but by also by limiting supply through the imposition of major new restrictions on accessing public lands.

From our Key Vote letter, which is going to the House of Representatives this afternoon:

The U.S. mining industry currently provides about 50 percent of the metals American manufacturers need to operate, including iron ore, copper, gold, phosphate, zinc, silver and molybdenum. The U.S. has become increasingly dependent upon foreign sources of minerals for products that are strategically important to both our national and economic security.

Rather than encouraging environmentally safe mineral development, H.R. 2262 would impose new taxes on the mining industry, including an eight percent royalty on new mining and a retroactive four percent royalty on existing mining operations. The bill would also establish new prohibitions on future mining on certain public lands and set highly prescriptive environmental standards that sometimes conflict with existing state and federal regulations.

Not only would the bill seriously impact the U.S. mining industry, it would increase the cost of raw materials for U.S. manufacturers, make our products less competitive in global markets and adversely affect thousands of high-paying manufacturing jobs. Moreover, we remain concerned that this sets an unwise precedent in targeting specific industries with new and burdensome tax increases.

Also worth mentioning is the trade deficit, which would certainly be affected by increased reliance on raw materials from overseas. It’s hard to see how a House member who rails against trade deficits could support H.R. 2262.

This legislation has failed to gain the national attention it deserves as an economy-stifling measure. Let’s change that.

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