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.
One of the most asinine proposals in the SEIR is to require miners to state when and where they will be dredging. This information would be accessible to the public, which would make them prime candidates for getting their homes burglarized while they are out mining.
• Battle continues in Oregon
• Stop annexation in Southern California
• EPA ignores Supreme Court ruling with new Idaho permit
• Alaska sues Feds to restore access rights
• California dredgers await next big court date
If you need more proof that having an organized Mining District can help you, look no further than the recently proposed Methow Headwaters Withdrawal in north-central Washington State.
- WOTUS rule finalized
- Reminder on new claim fees
- Key appointment at BLM
- Current administration not waiting for Congress
- BLM relocating
- Kansas exempts bullion from sales tax
A federal judge has tossed a lawsuit filed by opponents of a Tucson-area mine that had accused the US Forest Service of violating two federal laws in its handling of the mine issue.
- New Deputy Secretary of Interior
- Case against dredger allowed to proceed
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