Report: Mining industry clout grows with lobbying, donations

NMA spent $4.8 million on federal lobbying last year, up from $1.1 million in 2000, the report notes. Donations from its two political action committees — COALPAC and MINEPAC — doubled over the decade to hit $915,000 in 2012.

CREW argued that activity has installed congressional roadblocks to new safety regulations and attempts to extract royalty payments for mining on federal lands.

Most of the donations have gone to Republicans and conservative outfits, with 18 of the top 20 congressional recipients belonging to the GOP. The top three beneficiaries are House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerTrump, GOP fumble chance to govern ObamaCare gets new lease on life Ryan picks party over country by pushing healthcare bill MORE (Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorDemocrats step up calls that Russian hack was act of war Paul replaces Cruz as GOP agitator GOP shifting on immigration MORE (Va.) and Sen. Dean HellerDean HellerRed-state Dems in Supreme Court pressure cooker This week: House GOP faces make-or-break moment on ObamaCare Shutdown politics return to the Senate MORE (Nev.).

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThis obscure Senate rule could let VP Mike Pence fully repeal ObamaCare once and for all Sharron Angle to challenge GOP rep in Nevada Fox's Watters asks Trump whom he would fire: Baldwin, Schumer or Zucker MORE (D-Nev.) raked in fourth-largest contribution, which came solely from MINEPAC, CREW said. 

The report argues those contributions impede efforts to change the General Mining Act of 1872. That law exempts mining firms from paying royalties on what they extract from federal lands, though they pay taxes and fees required by the law.

Democratic Sens. Ron WydenRon WydenThe Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Overnight Regulation: Senate moves to strike Obama-era internet privacy rules Overnight Tech: Senate votes to eliminate Obama internet privacy rules | FCC chief wants to stay out of 'political debate' on fake news | Wikileaks reveals new CIA docs MORE (Ore.) and Tom UdallTom UdallDems introduce MAR-A-LAGO Act to publish visitor logs The Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Overnight Tech: FCC chief says media isn't 'the enemy of the people' | Fallout from Comey's testimony | Google apologizes for ads near extremist content | US preps electronics ban on some flights MORE (N.M.) are working on a bill that would force mining firms to pay royalties, the report notes. It estimated some proposals could generate as much as $2 billion in federal revenues.

CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said the mining lobby stands in the way of those sorely needed dollars.

“The federal giveaway to the mining industry would be an outrage at any time, but it is ironic that even in light of the current budget debacle, Congress can’t agree to scrap an 1872 law preventing the government from raising hundreds of millions — if not billions — of dollars in revenue,” Sloan said in a Wednesday statement.

NMA did not respond.