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.
Renewed interest in mining of gold, silver, copper and other metals in Aroostook County's Bald Mountain triggered 2012 legislation requiring the overhaul of the state's two-decade-old mining regulations.
• California suction dredging
• House shows support for public land use
• Idaho miners will challenge new EPA permit at rally
• California proposes to amend definition of a suction dredge
• Proposed rule redefines "navigable waters"
• Good news on EPA regs
• California rewards key appointment to dredging foe
• Republicans seek to block creation of National Monuments
• Zimbabwe threatens seizure of mining rights
We can’t say it wasn’t expected. The California Department of Fish & Game released revised suction gold dredging regulations on February 17, 2012, and it’s obvious the agency wants to make life as difficult as possible for dredgers.
Thomas Tierney has been a long-time subscriber to ICMJ’s Prospecting and Mining Journal and has read about the many battles between miners and overzealous regulators. Then he faced his own battle.
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