Finally, thanks to continued hard work by Stephen D'Esposito, Payal Sampat, and the staff at Earthworks (www.earthworksaction.org) , the House of Representatives has put forward a bill to charge federal royalties on minerals mined from federal land. The taxpayers would, under the new law, receive 8% of the royalties on gold, copper, silver etc. Perhaps it will be enough to fund Superfund to clean up these mining sites.
It's a boon for recycling. Recycling competes against virgin material.
It's a boon for greenhouse gas reductions. When metals are artificially cheap, big gas-hungry SUVs don't cost as much more as small cars.
It may be a boon to the environment. But only if other countries follow suit. If 3rd worlds states like DR Congo don't ALSO charge more royalties, the effect could be perverse... less mining in the relatively more regulated USA (that point is arguable) and more mining in the rain forests and coral reefs.