Legislative and Regulatory Update
April 2014 by Scott Harn• Idaho continues toward elimination of EPA suction dredging regulations
On March 13, the Idaho House State Affairs Committee held another hearing on whether or not to eliminate Environmental Protection Agency authority in the state.
Following the hearing, which included the testimony of numerous suction gold dredge miners, no opposing testimony and 76 supporters who signed their names in support, the committee passed House Bill 473.
The bill declares EPA authority would be “null and void and of no force and effect in this state.”
The bill now heads to the full Idaho House of Representatives for debate and a possible vote.
• EPA makes preemptive strike against Alaska mine
The EPA announced they have initiated a Clean Water Act review process in an attempt to prevent the Pebble Limited Partnership from developing the Pebble Project, a mining project valued in the billions of dollars in southern Alaska.
The EPA is taking this step even though no Plan of Operations has been submitted.
• Proposed Mines Act permit fees
The British Columbia (Canada) Ministry of Energy and Mines is proposing charging Mines Act permit fees for all mines in the province.
The proposed fees are as follows:
$2,000 for small-scale placer and mineral/coal exploration disturbing less than 1 hectare
$4,000 for medium-scale placer and mineral/coal exploration disturbing less than 3 hectares
$6,000 for large-scale placer and mineral/coal exploration disturbing 3 hectares or more
$4,000 for sand and gravel operations
$5,000 for custom mills
$6,000 for rock and industrial mineral quarries
$40,000 for all operations requiring a review under Section 9 of the Mines Act
$300,000 for large-scale major mines, expansions, and permit amendments
$100,000 for major mines, expansions and permit amendments
$10,000 for minor permit amendments to major mines
Unfortunately, the notice from the British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines states that comments would only be accepted through March 31, 2014—leaving little or no time to notify ICMJ readers. However, we posted this information to our website at www.icmj.com on March 16 in an effort to notify those miners who might wish to send in comments.
• California dredging update
• Favorable bills in Congress
This ruling comes at an opportune time, just as suction dredge miners are dealing with new proposed regulations in several western states. Be sure to cite this case when you provide comments on the regulations!
• "Not a pollutant"
• Thank you Senator Sessions
• California suction dredging
• EPA uses secret email accounts
Judge Ochoa went so far as to call the California permit scheme “unenforceable.”
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) issued emergency rules without public comment just prior to our publication deadline.
• Bills introduced to stop federal management of greater sage grouse
• WOTUS under review
• Congressional Review Act
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