National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn released the following statement today highly critical of a minority report authorized by House Energy Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) alleging hard rock mining on federal lands returns no value to U.S. taxpayers:
“The allegation that U.S. taxpayers derive little or no benefit from metal and mineral mining on federal lands is not only blatantly false. It also demonstrates little understanding about mining, the economy and the need for mineral resources by U.S. industries. The report is a misleading series of uninformed allegations accompanied by legislative prescriptions that, if followed, would destroy high-wage jobs, deprive local communities of badly needed revenue and aggravate the nation’s growing reliance on foreign metals and minerals.
“The report entirely overlooks the estimated $74.3 billion that metals and minerals mining – most from resources mined on federal lands – contributes annually to U.S. GDP. The total value added to GDP from major industrial users of these materials is $2.44 trillion. It also overlooks the estimated 439,150 jobs directly supported by this industry, jobs that pay an average of more than $85,000 annually that are typically the highest paid among all wage earners. It overlooks more than $29.6 billion in total taxes annually, of which $11.7 billion goes to local and state communities, revenue that helps to build roads, schools, hospitals and pays for essential community services from firefighting to health. Also the report ignores federal receipts totaling $66 million annually from fees to locate and maintain mining claims on federal land.
“Far from being a ‘give away’ of taxpayers’ resources, as the report alleges, mining on federal lands provides real value. By imposing additional taxes and redundant regulatory costs on mining, however, Rep. DeFazio’s bill will ‘take away’ mining revenue and employment opportunities by discouraging mining investment. None of this value would be possible without long-term investment in capital intensive mining operations.
“Instead of raising the costs of hard rock mining on federal land, the nation would be better served by policies that:
Reduce inefficiencies and speed up the permit approval process for mining that today ranks among the slowest and least efficient in the world. Today permit approval typically takes from 7 to 10 years.
Reverse the nation’s growing dependency on foreign metals and minerals that are critical to US industries and national defense. Today the U.S. is wholly dependent on foreign sources for 19 critical minerals.”