Legislative and Regulatory Update
October 2001 by Staff• Utah’s Kathleen Clarke nominated for top BLM post
Interior Secretary Gale Norton praised President Bush’s intention to nominate Kathleen Clarke, executive director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources, as director of the Bureau of Land Management. If nominated, Clarke will be subject to Senate confirmation.
“Kathleen Clarke will bring a highly successful record of innovative public lands management to BLM,” Norton said. “Kathleen’s background and experience demonstrate a holistic, integrated approach to natural resource conservation. Her broad experience will prove invaluable to helping Interior protect our public lands for future generations of Americans to enjoy.”
Clarke has served as executive director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources since 1998. Before that, she served as the department's deputy director, starting in 1993. With nearly two-thirds of Utah’s 57 million acres managed by the federal government, the Utah DNR is challenged with implementing a land and resource ethic that not only accounts for state and private lands, but also works in a partnership with federal land managers.
As executive director of Utah’s DNR, Clarke worked to meld seven diverse resource divisions into a unified, cohesive and interdisciplinary team that balances the needs of citizens with conscientious resource stewardship and management.
Clarke worked for Rep. James V. Hansen (R-Utah) from 1987 to 1993 as director of constituent services and executive director of Hansen’s Ogden, Utah office. Prior to that, she was co-owner of a construction and real estate business in Kaysville, Utah. She also served as staff assistant in the Washington, D.C., office of Sen. Wallace F. Bennett (R-Utah).
If confirmed, Clarke will be the first woman director of the BLM.
• 3809 Regulations—Letter Drive
The 3809 letter drive, initiated to correct changes made to bonding requirements and to prevent additional harm to small mining operations, was well received. The Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA) decided it was in their best interest to join our effort. Information packets were sent out to all chapter presidents and they were asked to contact each of their members. With this addition to the countless clubs, companies, and organizations that we had already contacted, we should be able to exceed the 30,000+ comments that environmental groups claim were submitted in favor of retaining Clinton’s version of 3809.
As of our publication deadline, it was unclear whether land use decisions will be on hold while our government deals with the terrorist attacks. It was initially believed that Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton, would announce a decision on 3809 on or about September 28, 2001. You may still have time to get your comments in. You’ll find addresses, sample letters, and instructions for entering the 3809 prize drawing on our website and in the September issue of ICMJ.
I would also expect that the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) will be postponed indefinitely. In light of recent events, I doubt that our government can afford to commit the $45 billion that was being debated for land acquisitions.
• Judge rules on Oregon coho salmon
US District Judge Michael Hogan dealt a blow to environmentalists on September 10, 2001. In this case, the Alsea Valley Alliance challenged the listing of Oregon coastal coho salmon as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Judge Hogan ruled that federal agencies were not given the authority to list groups smaller than a “distinct population segment” (DPS). The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) had separated “wild” and hatchery populations into two separate DPS’s even though much of the wild population are actually the offspring of hatchery fish.
The judge stated, “[the] problem with the NMFS listing is that it makes improper distinctions, below that of a DPS, by excluding hatchery coho populations from listing protections...” Thus, NMFS will have to include hatchery populations if they want to retain an ESA listing, and it will be impossible for them to show that there is any danger that hatchery fish face a genuine risk of extinction.
This ruling can be applied to countless other ESA listings of fish, where the so-called wild population was unlawfully separated from hatchery populations.
Update was provided courtesy of eco-logic: www.eco.freedom.org/el
• Norton joins fight against environmentalist lies...
The Department of Interior is making an effort to set the record straight and combat environmental propaganda. An article entitled, “Fact Sheet From the BLM,” states:
“Some environmental interest groups have asserted that 95 percent of the lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management are currently open to energy exploration. That statement is factually misleading and incorrect.”
The article goes on to explain that only BLM lands that are already under a lease are actually “open” to requests for exploration and develop. Currently, only 25 million acres of the 264 million acres administered by BLM are leased. The article points out that the remaining acres are not “open” because numerous regulations and restrictions prevent exploration in many areas.
The full text of the article is available on the Dept. of Interior website at: www.doi.gov/news/010906a.html
We all know that it was never Congress’ intent to regulate gold panners and other individual mine operators through MSHA. In fact, I believe the concept of owner-operated mines with no employees was so strange a concept to the lawmakers that they never even thought there would be a need for such an exemption.
Here's the kicker—for every lost flake there was a five minute penalty added to the time. Lost gold generally meant you didn't make it past the preliminaries.
An Assembly panel approved a measure to repeal the constitutional tax cap on net proceeds paid by mining companies in Nevada.
A Colorado company that saw its plans for a big Montana gold mine derailed by a 1998 voter initiative says it will sue the state for hundreds of millions of dollars, to cover loss of the project.
Thom Calandra, well known for promoting mining companies and precious metals through CBSMarketWatch.com for the past several years, will pay over $540,000 to settle charges he used his investment newsletter to profit from stocks that he owned.
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