General Mining Law of 1872 amendments progress in Congress

H.R. 2262, the Hard Rock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007, passed the House on November 1, 2007. It was sent to the Senate where it was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. This bill was introduced on May 10, 2007 by Rep. Nick Rahall [D-WV], and debated and amended in October of 2007.

According to a summary created by Project Smartvote this bill:

–  Prohibits patents from being issued for mining claims or mill sites after the passage of this act, unless the application was filed before September 30, 1994.

–  Requires royalty payments of 8% of gross income from mining a claim on Federal land, or 4% of claims on Federal land that existed prior to the passage of this act.

–  Requires an additional $50 fee for every mining claim, mill site, or tunnel site located before September 30, 1998 or after the passage of this act.

–  Prohibits certain areas from being open to the location of mining claims, including wilderness study areas, areas of critical environmental concern, areas included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and any area included in maps made for the Forest Service Roadless Area Conservation Final Environmental Impact Statement.

–  Allows states or Indian tribes to petition the Secretary of the Interior to withdraw tracts of Federal land from the operation of mining laws in order to protect values such as watersheds that supply drinking water, wildlife habitat, cultural or historic resources, or scenic vistas important to the local economy.

–  Requires a 20-year operations permit from the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture before mining is allowed on Federal land that may disturb surface resources such as land, air, ground water, surface water, fish, or wildlife.

–  Requires operators of permits to provide financial assurance to cover the cost of restoration and reclamation of lands within the permit area and all water that may require treatment or other management of environmental hazards.

–  Establishes the Locatable Minerals Fund within the Treasury of the United States, to include a Hard Rock Reclamation Account for the restoration of land and water resources affected by past mineral activities.

The full text of this bill can be found here.