October 05, 2021

At Senate Hearing, Cortez Masto Stands Up for Nevada Mining Jobs, Ensures That House Anti-Mining Provisions Will Not Move Forward In the Senate

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) led bipartisan opposition to an unfair proposed tax on Nevada’s mining industry at a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) hearing that she had called for to discuss mining reform. Cortez Masto criticized the proposal, which was recently approved by the House Natural Resources Committee as part of its reconciliation bill, because it would make changes to mining law that would unfairly burden Nevada’s mining industry and the thousands of jobs it supports in the state. Cortez Masto’s advocacy against the anti-mining provision was praised by industry leaders and Senators on both sides of the aisle. 

After the hearing, Senator Cortez Masto confirmed that the House proposal will not be included in the Senate reconciliation package. 

At the hearing, Cortez Masto expressed opposition to the proposal under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives to impose a gross royalty on new and existing hard-rock mines. She discussed the outsized impact it would have on the state of Nevada, stating, “I so appreciate you holding this hearing at my request, because I oppose the reform proposal that was put forward in the House of Representatives because, one, the legislation would have an unfair, outsized impact on the state of Nevada, where most of the land is owned by the federal government, and it imposes taxes on federal land. But more importantly, moving this type of reform through a short-term budget process would create uncertainty for the industry…[and for] thousands of jobs across the country.”   

Her remarks were supported by industry leaders, including Rich Haddock, General Counsel for Barrick Gold Mines. He opened his testimony by echoing Cortez Masto’s concerns about the House proposal, stating “the House proposal would make the U.S. non-competitive and drive production of critical minerals to the strength of the U.S. economy and greenhouse gas reduction goals into the hands of other governments.” In Haddock’s closing, he thanked Cortez Masto for her work representing the mining industry, saying, “I want to acknowledge and thank Senator Cortez Masto for her caring and attention to the people of Nevada, specifically close to my heart for the rural people. She spends time and effort there, and I appreciate it. I specifically thank her for her support of the people who mine.” 

Cortez Masto was also praised by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) for her strength and advocacy on behalf of the mining industry, stating“I want to thank you for having this hearing today and Sen. Cortez Masto for encouraging it. This is where these conversations should happen. It should not be happening in a reconciliation bill on the House side or on any side, where you just kind of shove something in and hope we get it right.”

Cortez Masto has consistently raised concerns about the House’s royalty proposal and called for Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), who is the Chairman of the Senate ENR Committee, to hold this hearing to discuss mining reform. Senator Cortez Masto has supported responsible legislation to reform the mining industry without killing Nevada jobs, including legislation that recently passed the Nevada legislature on a bipartisan basis with the support of the mining community and public education leaders. That legislation will direct revenue from a new mining fee to support the state’s education fund.

Senator Cortez Masto will continue to work with her colleagues in the Senate and with stakeholders across Nevada to craft meaningful mining reform legislation that protects the hard-rock mining industry, supports rural communities and environmentally sensitive areas, improves mining reclamation, and works for Nevada. 

A full video of the exchange can be found here.