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Congressman Walden Update - Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007 (HR 2262)

October 29, 2007

Hello everyone,

On behalf of Congressman Greg Walden, I have been fortunate to work with many of you in the past on mining issues related to public lands; however for those of you who do not know me, my name is Colby Marshall, I grew up on my family cattle ranch in Harney County and I handle Congressman Waldenís natural resources and energy policy issues (timber, mining, grazing, water, ect).  As you know, the new Democrat-led Congress has begun the process of rewriting the nationís mining laws and every week it seems there is a new issue afoot that may potentially impact miners in Oregon. 

In fact, on Wednesday this week (October 31) the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007 (HR 2262) sponsored by Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) will be voted on by the House of Representatives.  As you know, this bill has many, many problematic provisions including establishing an 8 percent gross royalty on new mineral production and a 4 percent gross income royalty on existing mining operations.  The legislation also identifies land that would be placed off-limits to miners and require reclamation plans before projects start.  During the markup sessions, Republicans repeatedly proposed amendments aimed at curtailing different provisions in the bill, in particular the royalties portions that they claim would hurt domestic industry and force the United States to be more dependent on foreign minerals.  It goes without saying that if Congress passes minerals policy that further discourages a domestic minerals industry that is already shrinking because of the existing regulatory constraints; it will result in a major threat to Americaís long-term stability.  It is very frustrating to Greg that HR 2262 totally fails to recognize that mineral availability is a cornerstone to robust economic activity because minerals support the broadest range of manufacturing and industrial businesses, including transportation, defense, aerospace, electronics, energy, agriculture, communication, construction, and health care. 

As important mining news becomes available here in Washington, Greg has asked that I pass it along so you too are informed.  Having traveled extensively throughout the district and spent time with many different groups of miners, Greg understands well the needs of those who make their living in mining and the importance of minerals to Oregonís economy and way of life.  Should you have any thoughts or comments, please feel free to shoot me an email or call me (my contact information follows).  If for whatever reason you would not like to receive these periodic emails, please feel free to let me know and Iíll remove you promptly.  Please donít hesitate to get in touch with me if you have question or if you would like additional information and feel free to pass this information along to those who might also be interested.

P.S. I encourage you to take a moment to visit Greg's website at http://walden.house.gov where you can send him an email, read about current legislative issues, fill out an online survey and also sign up for his weekly e-newsletter, the Oregon Congressional Connection.

Colby Marshall
Senior Policy Advisor
Congressman Greg Walden (OR-02)

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