Legislative and Regulatory Update
July 2009 by Scott
• Roadless Rule back in play
The Obama Administration has issued an order calling for a one-year moratorium on most road building, logging and other development in National Forests that were part of the Clinton-era Roadless Rule in 2001.
Approximately 58 million acres are affected by the directive issued by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on May 28, which gives him sole authority over all proposed construction projects and management decisions in designated roadless areas in every state except Idaho. Idaho has implemented its own plan to manage these areas.
The original Roadless Rule was contested and resulted in two opposite decisions from two separate federal courts; one struck down the rule while the other upheld it. Both decisions have been appealed.
• Action needed on SB 670
It may not be too late to fire off a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger of California, regarding SB 670.
The bill would stop all suction dredging in California until a new Environment Impact Report is completed. See page 5 in this issue for more information.
• Abbey recommended to head BLM
Bob Abbey, formerly the top Interior Department official in Nevada, has been nominated to be the director of the Bureau of Land Management by President Obama.
Abbey retired in 2005 as BLM’s Nevada director after over 30 years of government service.
• Capped and jobless
Organizations are crunching numbers to determine the number of American jobs that will be lost if the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill passes in Congress.
The Heritage Foundation estimates that 987,440 jobs would be lost during the first eight years of cap-and-trade regulations, rising to 2.5 million jobs lost in America over the first 25 years due to the added costs associated with cap-and-trade compliance.
• S 787
The Clean Water Restoration Act is a bill that would take jurisdiction over waterways away from individual states and give that authority to the federal government. It would also remove the requirement that a waterway be navigable to be subject to government regulation. All bodies of water—including groundwater, ditches, pipes, streets, gutters and desert washes—would be regulated under the Clean Water Act.
The Senate Environment and Public Works committee was due to vote on the bill on June 18.
• SB 796 & HR 699
The Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act, and its companion bill in the House, HR 699, remains in committee while Congress addresses cap-and-trade, health care, and other issues.
Both bills would place additional burdens on mining in the United States with additional regulations, financial guarantees and royalties.
There are so many environmental restrictions and regulations being proposed in Congress that it’s difficult to keep track of them.
It is going to be a tough road over the next several years. Democrats are in control of Congress and the White House, and environmental groups are taking full advantage of the opportunity to push through legislation that severely restricts public and private land use in America.
© ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal, CMJ Inc.