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snotion 103 - Regulations.
It is impossible for Secretary to promulgate all required regulations within 180 days. The bill should provide for continuing activity when the Secretary tails to act in a timely way.
section_404. Transitional Rulese
This section is subject to many uncertainties and
against the United states.
56-185 0 - 92 - 6
Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Neff.
Mr. NEFF. Mr. Chairman and Members of the committee, I am here on behalf of the Northwest Mining Association that has submitted a written statement and which I believe will be a part of the record.
Our primary concern with the entire legislation and its history is that it is essentially overriding 100 years of history of what the country was doing with its Western lands. For the benefit of industrial society, of course, we had national policy that has encouraged the private sector, not the Government, to develop mineral re sources. The current bill appears to be running right in the face of that particular policy and essentially is going to be prohibitive on the private sector attempting to further develop resource.
It may well be that roughly, I will use the term a third of the country, that is currently in public ownership should be sterilized and we should not be attempting to develop mineral. But if we are, it has to be upon terms that the industry and the people involved in exploration can live with. I submit that the current bill is not such a proposal. That the current bill, we loosely sometimes refer to it up in Spokane as the thousand points of light for lawyers. There is at least a thousand lawsuits in this bill the way it is drafted.
And the question is basically, in the end, is anybody going to be induced into spending the time, money, and energy, and years of effort that it takes to bring a mineral deposit to economic viability and then be told that they absolutely cannot mine it. I don't think that risk money is available for that type of venture. I think we are at the point where we have already discouraged most of our do mestic sources of capital from engaging in the activity we are in now, which delays ultimate development through a protracted series of environmental reviews and the long series that goes on with the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management regulations. But, to say then absolutely that, at some point in time, for whatever reason they would be denied the right to mine without compensation, I think makes it totally uninviting to anyone who is attempting to conduct exploration.
I think we are basically in that point. The question there is a lot of anticonservation provisions in the current proposals that are here, both here and in the Senate bills, particularly in the area of royalties which I consider anticonservation. But the bottom line is the policy has to be determined at the outset. Is it going to continue to be the policy of the Federal Government to invite the private sector to explore and develop minerals in the public lands? If it is not, I think the time has come to make that clear.
As I point out in the written statement, I think the current proposal already precipitates a problem of taking of what claims are there and what values are there. I don't know that the number is significant in Washington. Out in the West it certainly is. We are talking about millions of dollars of values that would be simply taken away.
I would suggest maybe this is the thousand points of light for lawyers and maybe I should look forward to my declining years of this constant litigation. But that is not the function of the North
west Mining Association and it doesn't want to foster that type of
As background for the current proposal, H.R. 918, a brief
Northwest Mining Association
In the last three decades a number of actions have been taken by
The Congress declares that it is the
needs ... The Forest Service in 1974, and the Bureau of Land Management in 1980, adopted extensive regulations regulating all surface activities on mining claims, which have been construed to require prior review of any activity causing significant surface disturbance. The review is conducted under the National Environmental Policy Act and includes all of the studies and review required by preparation of Environmental Impact Statements. This is often duplicative of state requirements, and has resulted in substantial and significant cost and delay to any person attempting to explore for or develop any mineral deposit. Because of rapidly changing cost and income projections the delays have caused some projects to be cancelled during the protracted review process. In 1976 Congress adopted the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, sometimes referred to as the Organic Act. The purpose of the Act was to bring all records regarding status and usage of federal lands into one repository with the Bureau of Land Management, and to provide for review of prior withdrawal orders, the grant of rights of way across federal lands, and otherwise to centralize administration of "title" to the federal lands. Because of the improvident division that exists between the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture, the functions regarding "multiple use and sustained yield" as