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Legislative and Regulatory Update

Biden administration considers ban on new mining
The Biden administration announced on May 11 it will consider banning new mining across millions of acres of the West to protect the greater sage grouse.

The Obama administration established a temporary mining ban across ten million acres in Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming, but the Trump administration determined mining or grazing would not pose a significant threat to the birds.

US District Judge Winmill said in February that the Trump administration ignored prior science on the issue, including a 2017 government study that concluded restrictions on new mining would avoid impacts to hundreds of sage grouse breeding areas.

The National Mining Association has said blocking mining across such a large area would be unreasonable and that the science used by the Trump administration was correct. Spokesperson Conor Bernstein said the court’s order “does not ultimately mean that the BLM will move forward with the withdrawal.”

“We believe the scientific evidence on sage grouse conservation and public policy considerations regarding the need for domestic minerals to shore up the supply chains for our nation’s energy future will prevail,” he said.

30 x 30 Termination Act
Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) introduced the 30 x 30 Termination Act, that would do just what the title suggests. The bill would nullify Executive Order 14008 signed by President Biden, which directs his administration to conserve 30 percent of all lands and waters in the United States by 2030.

The bill would prohibit federal funds from being spent to carry out the program, ensure no net-loss of non-federal lands in counties and states where 15% of lands are already under federal control, prohibit designations of additional lands using the Antiquities Act in those same states and counties, and prohibit mineral withdrawals without Congressional approval.

The bill was endorsed by 22 members of Congress, including Representatives Michael Guest (MS), Chip Roy (TX), Scott Perry (PA), Ted Budd (NC), Ronny Jackson (TX), Adrian Smith (NE), Doug LaMalfa (CA), Ken Buck (CO), Dan Bishop (NC), Pat Fallon (TX), Tom Emmer (MN), Randy Weber (TX), Bob Good (VA), Don Bacon (NE), Andy Biggs (AZ), Paul Gosar (AZ), Brian Babin (TX), Rick Crawford (AR), Michael Cloud (TX), Pete Stauber (MN), Austin Scott (GA), and Tom Tiffany (WI).

© ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal, CMJ Inc.
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