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Today, I attended a press conference held by one of the best guys on Capitol Hill, Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ). Representative Grijalva announced that he and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) (another friend of EARTHWORKS) are asking the General Accountability Office (GAO) to tell us how much the minerals extracted from public lands and the Outer Continental Shelf are worth.

Referencing the House Majority, Rep. Grijalva outlined the prevailing assumption that fewer regulations will deliver a miraculous blossoming of jobs and mineral wealth.

Our friends at the Economic Policy Institute have recently debunked the false choice between growing the economy and protecting the environment. A number of other allies have tackled this question as well.

Amid all of the discussion of debt, deficits, and revenues, Congressman Grijalva and Senator Udall have a simple point:

Let’s have some measure of fiscal responsibility by ensuring that American taxpayers enjoy a fair return for the treasures extracted from public lands. 

We applaud Congressman Grijalva and Senator Udall for requesting this information from the GAO. Without it, we cannot have a reasoned discussion about leases, royalties, and ultimately, reform of the antiquated General Mining Law of 1872.