URANIUM LEGACY CLEANUP ACT
- Legislative URL:
- HB 293 on nmlegis.gov
- Emergency Clause:
-  not prntd-HRC
- Hazardous Waste & Toxics
This bill, effective January 1, 2017, enacts the Uranium Legacy Cleanup Act and creates the Uranium Legacy Cleanup Fund to be administered by the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) and consisting of revenue from taxes on (new or resumed) uranium mining and fees for interim storage of radioactive material. Expenditures from the fund will be used to provide financial assistance for qualified projects directed at the elimination or reduction of human exposure to contamination resulting from uranium mining or milling activities prior to July 1, 2017.
The Secretary of EMNRD will adopt rules for applying for financial assistance from the fund and for establishing priorities for qualified projects, based on factors including, among others:
- the protection of public health, safety and welfare, and the environment;
- the ability to leverage funds available from other sources to implement qualified projects and the degree to which a qualified project can be completed with the requested funding;
- the size of the area to be included, the number of persons affected, and the level of radiation exposure at the project site; and
- the potential for increased contamination or human exposure if the project site is not cleaned up.
The Secretary of EMNRD is required to report to the appropriate interim legislative committee no later than October 1 of each year regarding the amount and purposes of expenditures from the fund, an analysis of the projects funded and proposals for legislative action.
The bill creates a new section of the Resources Excise Tax Act imposing on any severer or related processor of uranium in New Mexico a Uranium Legacy Cleanup Surtax, at a rate of fifty cents ($.50) per pound of the content of U308 contained in uranium severed or processed. Funding sources for the Uranium Legacy Cleanup Fund include the net receipts attributable to the new Uranium Legacy Cleanup Surtax and 50 percent of the net receipts attributable to the Resources, Processors and Service Taxes on uranium pursuant to the Resources Excise Tax Act.
Potential benefits of this bill might include improvement of the state’s land, air and water quality and public health due to funding for and oversight of cleanup projects at existing sites where uranium mining or milling activities took place prior to July 1, 2017. Possible concerns include the bill’s dependence for funding on new or resumed uranium mining activities and/or storage in the state of radioactive material.