Legislative and Regulatory Update
March 2019 by Scott Harn
• Massive 660-page lands bill passed in the Senate
Senate Bill 47 (S47), the Natural Resources Management Act, introduced by Senator Murkowski (R-Alaska), was chock full of land conveyances, mineral withdrawals, park boundary adjustments, and gifts to various Senators to get their support. Our biggest concern is that it included permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which is the primary vehicle used by the federal government to place more public lands off-limits to mining.
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced an amendment in an attempt to limit authorization of the LWCF to a period of four years.
In support of the LWCF limits, Senator Lee stated, “...the program has regrettably drifted far from its original intent and has become rife with abuse.
“Indeed, the Land and Water Conservation Fund—or LWCF, as it is often described—has instead been used as a primary tool for more Federal land acquisition rather than to actually help people access or to help the government care for the land we already manage.”
Senator Lee also noted the federal government currently administers 640 million acres and there is an $18.5 billion maintenance backlog on federal lands.
Senator Lee’s amendment was defeated by a vote of 68 to 30.
S47 received a full, recorded vote on February 12, and it passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 92-8. The eight Senators who voted against the bill were Cruz (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Johnson (R-WI), Lankford (R-OK), Lee (R-UT), Paul (R-KY), Sasse (R-NE), and Toomey (R-PA).
The bill now awaits consideration in the House.
• Idaho continues toward elimination of EPA suction dredging regulations
• EPA makes preemptive strike against Alaska mine
• Proposed Mines Act permit fees
As a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits, I’m not allowed to talk about specifics in the court-ordered negotiations currently underway in San Bernardino. However, I do want to let you know we are making progress…
• Backdoor Wild Lands order
• PLP reports on latest dredge lawsuit
• Massive lands bill avoided
• No cap and trade for now
• RS-2477 rights affirmed
If you do not have the time to read the entire document, I would suggest starting with the Executive Summary that begins on page 80.
• Judge orders reconsideration of “bi-state” sage grouse population in California and Nevada
• Environmental groups attempt to reinstate hard rock rule
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts - Any references on gold formation? • Ask The Experts - Finalizing an agreement with a mining company • The Basics of Exploration Leases and Contracts—Part II • Pumping Water With Solar Power • My Introduction To Gold Prospecting • Resurrecting An Old Hard Rock Mine—Safety Is No Accident • Mining Claims: Breaking All The Commandments • The Importance Of Mining Critical Minerals In The USA • Gold Prospecting for Better or Worse: Gold Is Where You Find It • Detecting for Gold: A Return to Familiar Ground • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices