The Powder River Basin Resource Council is taking issue with a proposed tax break to the uranium industry. Industry representatives say the cuts are necessary to help boost production and pricing. Opponents say the strategy has been tried twice without success.
In a report, the Wyoming Mining Association wrote the industry is facing near historically low prices and has had to lay off employees. Prices have dropped about 85% since 2007.
The association said uranium companies could boost production by avoiding a severance tax -- a tax imposed on non-renewable resources. When prices are back up, Wyoming’s six operational uranium mines could then pay a higher rate. A state committee will hear the proposal for the tax break later this week.
Sarah Gorin, a mineral policy expert who works with the Powder River Basin Resource Council, said there’s no proof this strategy boosts production or pricing.
Gorin said, “There have been severance tax breaks enacted for oil and gas and for coal, same result, the only sure result was that less revenue came to the state of Wyoming for a resource that will never come back."
She added revenue from severance taxes are particularly important now with the state’s budget downturn.