This is the first of a continuing series of opportunities for readers to judge for themselves whether or not something that caught my eye is fair, or not. Here’s one that surprised me.
Back in 1872, in the interest of encouraging the exploitation of our then “wild west,” Congress enacted a law that allowed prospectors looking for minerals to stake claims on public lands in the West at will, and declared that they would not have to pay any royalties on any “hard rock” discoveries – gold, copper, even uranium! It was all free.
By contrast, oil, gas and coal discoveries on federal lands require the operators to pay a royalty amounting to 12.5 percent of their gross income. Needless to say, our energy companies are especially exercised about the fact that the nuclear energy industry gets a huge tax subsidy.
Is this fair? What do you think?