Legislative and Regulatory Update
July 2019 by Scott Harn
• Administration issues proposals to fix mining access and permitting
The Trump Administration released an interagency report titled, “A Federal Strategy to Ensure a Reliable Supply of Critical Minerals.” The document establishes goals and makes recommendations to achieve President Trump’s objectives laid out in Executive Order 13817 in order to create a reliable US supply chain for critical minerals.
The recommendations related to minerals involve all types of mining, not just mining for critical minerals. Specific recommendations are made to expedite permitting, revise Travel Management Plans, curb mineral withdrawals, and much more.
We are encouraged that many of the recommendations we made during out trips in Washington, DC, with Public Lands for the People are included in the proposals.
Check the PLP Update column later is in this issue for a full review.
• Online “webinar” and request for comments for proposed Forest Service NEPA regulation revisions
On June 13, the Forest Service published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking and request for comments as the agency seeks to revise its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations.
The agency states it intends to increase efficiency, reduce timelines for approval, and possibly utilize categorical exclusions in some cases.
The agency will provide an online “webinar” on July 12, 2019, from 3:30-5:00pm Eastern Time. You can call in at 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-688-3633. The access code is 0849770#.
Or you can watch it on your desktop or device by visiting https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/neparule-1000/
Public comments are due in writing by August 12, 2019.
Comments can be submitted by one of the following methods:
Public participation portal (preferred):
NEPA Services Group
c/o Amy Barker; USDA Forest Service
125 South State Street, Suite 1705
Salt Lake City, UT 84138.
• Positive bill passes House
• Anti-mining bill dies in Washington State
• PLP continues the fight for miners' rights
• Oregon miners fight back
• Bills address strategic minerals
It was a milestone day in the battle to maintain the rights of miners to dredge on federal mining claims in California.
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.
Many of you are aware that we have been engaged in litigation with anti-mining activists that have been attacking us through the Karuk Tribe of California since 2003. It all started with their lawsuit against the US Forest Service (USFS), challenging that District Rangers do not have the authority to allow small-scale mining activities under a Notice of Intent (NOI) when the Ranger concludes that the mining activity is not likely to create a substantial surface disturbance.
The ESA has become an unwieldy beast that was hijacked by government agencies run amok, and by extreme environmental groups who saw it as a way to lock up public lands and to generate income through exaggerated claims and continuous lawsuits.
After many decades of closures, land-use restrictions, and over-regulation, miners and all other public land users may finally see some real relief due to the efforts of MMAC.
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