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.
Modoc County, California, is the latest county to use emergency powers to declare a state of emergency in order to take control of roads and trails away from federal agencies.
We have an opportunity to make significant and substantial changes to provide relief for small miners with the Trump Administration and the current makeup of Congress. We realize the time to act is now, but we need your help.
• California suction dredging regulations
• Draft Coho recovery plan for Southern Oregon, Northern California
Suction dredging court cases in California linger on
• Lawsuits galore
• Suction dredging saga continues
• HR 1937 to streamline permitting, remove obstacles to miners
• Sage-grouse debate continues
• More National Monuments
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