Everybody Knows: It’s a Rock Hard Life

By November 1, 2007Taxation

The House today is expected to debate H.R. 2262, the Hard Rock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007. The NAM is on the record opposing the legislation for adding counterproductive taxes and retroactive royalties, as well as limiting access to essential U.S. resources. (Our earlier post here.)

It’s also worth looking at the objections raised by the hard-rock mining industry’s trade association, the National Mining Association. In a letter sent to the House, the NMA noted the objections cited above, as well as provisions that make us wonder whether members of Congress are abandoning their belief in the rule of law.

Confiscation of Investments: Several provisions of H.R. 2262 would empower political appointees to stop new mining projects even when such projects have met all applicable environmental and legal requirements. No business can attract the necessary capital or operate with such regulatory uncertainty and, as you would expect, those investments and projects will move overseas.

These provisions would permit the kind of capriciousness of power that you normally only find in tinpot dictatorships. At least there they’d let you mine for tin.

A lousy law that would make the U.S. less competitive.

P.S. OK, to close on a serious note, you’ll see that the NMA — and the NAM, for that matter — are not opposed to reforming current mining law. But in a way that permits, you know, mining.

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