Law would require companies to bid on leases and pay royalties
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Uranium mining companies would have to pay 12.5 percent royalties and bid competitively for leases under legislative changes proposed by two New Mexico Democrats.
Because of an increased interest in nuclear power and speculation that new nuclear power plants will come online in the U.S.and elsewhere has resulted in a sixfold increase in the price of uranium.
All other fuels — coal, oil and gas — are governed by leasing systems, which allow the government to better protect the public’s economic and environmental interests. Under the 1872 mining law, uranium-mining companies pay no royalty for the minerals they take from public lands. Historic uranium development in the West has polluted surface and ground water and left a toxic legacy in some communities that has yet to be addressed. The 1872 law even allows sites sacred to Native American communities to be mined and gives tribes little recourse to stop the destruction. (more…)