You'd think he'd be kinda busy with that whole health care thing, but US Sen.

has apparently found time to

reform the mining industry

, too. To be fair, Bingaman introduced the bill in April, but it wasn't until yesterday that he

in US Sen.

, D-Colorado.

What's unique about the bill is that it would assess

2 to 5 percent royalties

for hardrock (gold, platinum, uranium) mining on public lands; the proceeds would be deposited into a reclamation fund. It also allows for

stricter fees and permit processes

. It doesn't sound like a lot—read Bingaman's description of the bill

—but no telling what effect it'll have on the

around Grants, N.M. For more on that, check out

by New Mexico Sen.

, D-Cibola, in today's

Cibola Beacon

. A preview, after the jump...

During it's [sic] peak, the "Uranium Capital of America" produced over 347 million pounds of uranium. We have tremendous resources just waiting to be tapped. ...Uranium production will benefit the entire state. It will create new jobs, wide spread economic development, and safe mining [and] will provide an additional revenue stream for the state that will contribute toward resolving future budget problems.

Especially if we can squeeze some royalties out of it!