Legislative and Regulatory Update
June 2021 by Scott Harn
• 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).
- November elections
- Anti-mining ballot initiative rejected in Montana
• Refunds coming to Nevada claimholders
• More wilderness proposed
• Forest Service planning rule
• National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act
• CA suction dredging update
• Appropriations Bill addresses problems at EPA
• Bad science, worse policy
Those miners present immediately recognized the benefits of becoming members of MMAC and joined up on the spot. I spent some time answering a few questions, and then the miners took over.
Federal and state regulatory agencies often cite mercury and methyl mercury in our waterways as a major factor for further restrictions on placer mining, and on suction gold dredge mining, in particular. However, these regulatory agencies are minimizing selenium and its neutralizing effects.
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.
• Judge refuses to grant preliminary injuction to end suction gold dredging moratorium in California
• Proposed listing of Yellow-legged frog and Yosemite Toad in northern California
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts - How do I stake this claim? • Ask The Experts - Is this non-toxic leaching system for real? • Ask The Experts - Where can I find more information about this claim? • Ask The Experts - Can you tell me more about the Meadow Lake area? • Tracing Gold To Its Source • Tips & Tricks: How to Revive a Dredge Engine That’s Been Submerged • Quit While You’re Goin’ Good • The Historic Gold Rush Town of Quincy • Gold Prospecting for Better or Worse: Add This to Your Bucket (Check) List • Finding Gold Beyond Your Detector • Opinion: Another Attack on Oregon’s Rural Communities • Rand, Red Mountain, Atolia Mining Districts of Kern and San Bernardino Counties, California • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices