U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is taking it on the chin once again from a liberal, rather than a conservative publication. The latest issue of Mother Jones features an in-depth piece on the senator and the state’s mining industry. www.motherjones.com/environment/2009/02/harry-reid-gold-member
The piece by Josh Harkinson sparked a lively exchange in the comments section between the author and the National Mining Association’s spokeswoman.
The senator from Searchlight is lambasted for blocking federal changes to the 1872 Mining Law which, according to Mother Jones, has allowed miners to take gold worth $408 billion from public lands without ever paying federal royalties.
The article said that since 1872, mining companies have been exempted from paying at least $100 billion in royalties, taxes, and fair land prices. "It is the last great boondoggle for companies in the West," says Cathy Carlson, a policy adviser at the mining watchdog Earthworks.
Well at least Reid isn’t blamed for writing the law, but he’s thwacked repeatedly for protecting it and thus protecting the mining industry.
I’d forgotten the story about how he and Arkansas Sen. Dale Bumpers went at it in 1997, when during their annual debate over the 1872 law, Bumpers said the mining companies “own all the senators here.”
"They own enough people in the United States Congress; they know they don’t have to pay a royalty and never will,” Bumpers said.
Harkinson wrote: Reid curled his right hand into a fist and began shouting at his colleague. "Thinking that people here are voting because somebody owns them — I consider that an insult," he thundered. "I consider it an insult and I think that should be stricken from the record. Nobody owns me, and I’ve been insulted."
What didn’t sound quite right was that Harry Reid “thundered.”
I’ve heard him hiss, I’ve heard him yell, but I’ve never heard him thunder.