December 2020 by Scott Harn
The Department of Interior released revised regulations pertaining to complying with the Environmental Policy Act, but these revisions pertain to special use permittees, which does not include miners.
Public Lands for the People’s Clark Pearson continues to have monthly meetings with officials via phone/video in Washington, DC, in the ongoing effort to get regulatory relief for miners. Those talks are now focused on immediate relief that can be provided by the current administration should the election results be certified in favor of Joe Biden.
Plans are also under way to coordinate with the incoming chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. We had difficulty getting current chair, Senator Murkowski (R-Alaska), to provide much-needed regulatory relief for small miners, but her term as chair will expire. We expect Senator Barrasso (R-Wyoming) will be the incoming chairman and we had several good in-person meetings with his staff prior to the COVID pandemic.
As mentioned in the Legislative and Regulatory Update , President Trump signed another Executive Order related to critical minerals on September 30. The President declared a national emergency under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the National Emergencies Act related to critical minerals and the threats imposed by relying solely on countries such as China for our critical mineral needs.
The order requires federal agencies to provide details on existing and planned efforts to jump-start critical minerals mining and production here in America and those reports are due within 60 days at the White House. Once started, this could be a difficult path to reverse by Former Vice President Joe Biden if he eventually is sworn in as the next President.
Some of our readers have wondered aloud if they will be left behind when it comes to regulatory relief related to critical minerals because they mine gold and/or silver. But the administration has made it clear that critical minerals are byproducts in many cases, so any regulatory relief must be across the board for all commodities. President Trump’s Executive Order 13817 issued in 2017, stated, “Of the 35 minerals deemed critical, 12 are byproducts. Therefore, strategies to increase the domestic supply of these commodities must necessarily consider the mining and processing of the host materials because enhanced recovery of byproducts alone may be insufficient to meet US consumption.”
We will continue to keep you updated on our joint efforts to provide regulatory relief for miners at the federal level.
In the meantime, please consider joining PLP by purchasing a yearly $50 membership, purchasing raffle tickets or by making a donation. These funds allow PLP to continue their fight for small miners, as they plan to return to Washington, DC, in early 2021.
For more information, visit: publiclandsforthepeople.org
Public Lands for the People is working on a Miner's Bill of Rights with the support of several members of Congress.
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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PLP northern director Clark Pearson stated, “Thanks to the U.S. v. Hicks case, the courts have acknowledged that claimholders are owners of land within the National Forest who are exempt.”
Rep. Grijalva (D-Arizona) assumed chairmanship of the House Natural Resources Committee after Democrats took control of the House. He introduced Mining Law Reform legislation that would set us back decades…
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This is the third trip MMAC has made to DC this year, so some of the congressional staff members are gaining a better understanding of the current problems miners face and how MMAC-assisted Mining Districts can alleviate those problems.
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