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.
- Budd-Falen in line to become next director at BLM
- Ten national monuments slated for changes or reductions
- California adds another fee
• Comment deadlines approaching for frog listings and habitat
• EPA seeks more control
• Comments due in Washington
• California dredging moratorium
• PLF sues to delist polar bear
• Hike in mining claim fees
• Hearing on suction gold dredging in California
• Interior wants mining reform
- Bishop and Curtis seek to rein in Antiquities Act abuses
- Lands bill signed by President Trump
- Interior Department reigns in “sue and settle”
- Comments needed on Forest Service Part 228 regulations
Retired geologist Dave Taylor of Farmington, New Mexico, predicted the disaster in a letter published by the Silverton Standard a week before it occurred.
Republicans and industry representatives have criticized the administration’s eleventh-hour actions to limit development and promised to seek their reversal once Obama leaves office.
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