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Bowman talks uranium tax

The potential for uranium mining has prompted some state officials to look into establishing a uranium tax, which Bowman County commissioners discussed at a Tuesday meeting.

The tax would protect counties and provide revenue from mining, if it occurs, said Vicky Steiner, North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties executive director. There is no uranium tax in North Dakota.

The interim Taxation Legislative Committee initially brought up the idea when members met earlier this month.

Steiner has talked with Billings, Slope, Stark and Bowman counties on the issue.

According to information on the N.D. Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties Web site, to date there has been exploration only, and two active exploration permits exist for Billings and Slope counties. A best guess for mining activity is three to five years away, and mining would require numerous state and federal permits. Uranium was last mined in the state in the 1960s, according to the site.

Steiner said she expects the issue will be discussed in the 2011 legislative session.

Uranium is used for nuclear power and, according to the North Dakota Geological Survey, numerous deposits are in southwest North Dakota.