Reid says he’ll block mining bills
ELKO (AP) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he intends to block votes on separate mining law reform bills proposed by Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.
Reid, at a meeting Wednesday in Elko with mining industry representatives, said Rahall’s bill in particular would kill mining and wouldn’t go anywhere as long as he’s majority leader.
“We have people who want to get rid of mining,” Reid said. “I have a good feeling about this industry. Times are good and the price of gold is good, but mining is cyclical. We need to support the industry in good times.”
Reid, the son of a hard-rock miner, said if he’s not re-elected, the likely candidates for majority leader would not be “friends of mining” as he is.
“I don’t know anybody in Congress who knows as much about mining as I do,” he said. “I am happy to work for mining.”
Nevada Mining Association President Tim Crowley praised Reid’s efforts on behalf of the industry.
“We’re grateful for the time, attention and appreciation that Sen. Reid has for our industry,” he said. “Having him as the majority leader brings special attention to our often-misunderstood industry.”
Tom Kerr, senior vice president of Newmont Mining Corp.’s North American operations, said mining jobs depend on Reid, and he has worked hard for the industry and all of Nevada.
Nigel Bain, manager of underground operations at Barrick Gold of North America’s Goldstrike Mine north of Carlin, asked Reid if anything can be done to speed up permitting for mine projects.
Reid said he helped push the permitting effort for the Coeur Rochester Mine near Lovelock, and he believes more can be done.
The senator said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is a “wonderful person, and he has already helped us in many different ways so we can speed things up.”
Reid said unlike current officials in the Obama administration, former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Interior Solicitor John Leshy were not good for mining. Babbitt and Leshy served in the Clinton administration.
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