This week brought with it surprising and welcome news on Tuesday in the form of due pass recommendation for SJR 15 from the Senate Committee on Revenue. After hearing testimony in support of SJR15 from numerous supporters followed by testimony from the Nevada Mining Association and a legal representative of the industry in opposition, or was it neutral? perhaps it was neutral leaning towards opposition? We couldn’t really figure it out and neither could the Senators on the Committee as they tried in vein to get a simple answer from the two industry spokespersons.
As the hearing on SJR15 came to a close, Chairman Kihuen indicated that he was open to motions on the Resolution. It was at this point that Senator Parks, seconded by Senator Roberson, gave Nevadans great hope for the ultimate Sesquicentennial Anniversary present– the ability to change the Net Proceeds of Minerals taxation scheme. This was followed by a unanimous vote of the Committee and the hearing was closed, or so we thought.
In what could only be described as a bizarre and pointless lecture about spilled milk, Asm. Hansen criticized his fellow lawmakers for passing the measure out of Committee. In his poorly timed post-vote tirade, the Assemblyman accused the Senators of being out of touch, among other things. Considering the years of distorted industry ‘facts’ that have been debunked, the legal spin that has been repeatedly corrected by the Legislative Council Bureau, and the public relations love affair the industry thought it was having with Nevadans rebuffed, maybe it is Mr. Hansen that is out of touch.
After so many years of feeling like Charlie Brown going for yet another pass at the football, the most welcome vote brought all in the room a subdued mix of relief and cautious joy as we looked around the room at one another to confirm we hadn’t just imagined the vote. We slowly got up, shared some hugs and began to discuss the next steps in this struggle.
As for the hardrock mining industry representatives, this time all they got was a rock!
The image used in this article shows cyanide leaching area in the Carlin trend region of Nevada. It is credited to NASA (yes, it was taken from space) and is under Creative Commons license, some rights retained, not for profit use.