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to land surveys, in place of the old lode and placer claims and tunnel and mill sites, and elimination of extralateral rights and "uncommon varieties" claims--while, in fairness, preserving the original configuration and rights of existing claims. This will help simplify both the Mining Law and its administration.

(4) Inclusion of Section 201(c)(2), making for further simplicity on the ground by having the new law supersede State

laws--though I urge that state reclamation laws not be superseded.


(5) Elimination of the confusing concepts of "pedis possession and "discovery" as requirements to hold clain during the exploration period, and the substitution of a secure type of tenure for claim holders. Although many in the mining community have

opposed this change, we believe that is because their spokesmen have generally chosen to oppose 'all change in the Law and have failed to concede the advantages of particular changes.

(6) Very importantly, the provision in Section 201(b) (2) (B) for a notice approach for initial test drilling, rather than requiring an approved plan of operations at that stage. After all, Mr. Chairman, the essence of self-initiation is more than simply being allowed to put stakes in the ground.

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(8) Strengthening, environmentalists have urged, the amounts of assessment work required to hold a claim, i.e., requiring increased diligence to reflect a bona fide exploration effort, rather than virtually condoning the practice of just PUBLIC RESOURCE ASSOCIATES

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sitting on a claim indefinitely. However, with great respect, I must say that the dollar amounts in H.R. 918 are unrealistically and unnecessarily high and would be particularly unfair to the small prospector/miner.

(9) Inclusion of exploration, reclamation and environmental studies in an expanded definition of assessment work. This has advantages to all; among other things, it will help reclaim and improve past mining areas and encourage direct environmental improvement by exploration and mining companies.

(10) Provision of a liberalized group assessment work feature for contiguous claims. This would be welcomed by explorationists. However, the group should have some limit, say, 1000 acres of

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reasonably compact size that would include all claims, contiguous

or not, that benefit the exploration effort. This would prevent an existing producer from spreading assessment work over an entire mineral trend. Excess expenditures in one year night be carried


forward for a period of time, say three years.

(11) Imposition of a land rental, and optional cash payments in lieu of land-disturbing assessment work after the initial exploration has been completed, rather than a royalty urged by some but which there are sound reasons for onitting, not least of which


is the fact that recent Department of the Interior study concluded that the imposition of a royalty would cost the Government more money than it would bring in.

(12) Imposition of penalties for knowingly and willfully filing false diligence statements.


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(13) Replacement of the arbitrary "five-acre rule" on BLM land with the more general provision of allowing initial test drilling under a notice, cited in (6) above.

(14) Provision for review of lands administratively withdrawn

to the

from mining exploration. This withdrawal review will be welcomed by the mining industry and is also in the national interest.

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Future complete withdrawals would also become unnecessary and

unwise except in very special situations.

(15) Provision for each Federal land agency to take minerals


management responsibility for its own lands.

I believe that most of these fifteen points are either selfexplanatory or have been discussed at sufficient length in earlier hearings, so I shall not elaborate them further.

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Let me turn now to the problem areas, Mr. Chairman, that is,

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those features of H.R. 918 that in our view seriously need revision or, in some cases, elimination.

The Bill's handling of the admittedly difficult but very important problem of reconciling land use planning and surface management with the right to mine is just unsatisfactory. Bearing in mind that we are dealing here with a mining law, while a number

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of other statutes deal with environmental protection, I would like

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to go into this problem at some length in a moment.

The Bill leaves uncertainty regarding the nature of claimant's rights and property interest; for instance, ownership of the mineral is not clearly stated (is there a compensable property interest?); the right to mine is not clearly expressed, and access


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The Bill adds a level of bureaucracy, namely, Interior's office of Surface Mining, to be involved in administering mine reclamation, and this is just not desirable, in our view. Each State has distinct conditions of climate and vegetation, and the States are best suited to adopt the flexibility required by these variations, operating under Federal guidelines. All but two

States already have adequate reclamation laws and staff to


administer them, and these should not be superseded. While the Bill's provisions on reclamation and bonding are in line with current practice of many companies, what are needed are streanlined procedures and shortened time periods.

Next, the Bill would withdraw from mining, without traditional mineral studies, Wilderness and other study Areas. This creates a legislative policy not of opening lands through proper land use planning but of simply closing them arbitrarily, particularly when the "nonimpairment" provision in Federal regulations currently protects Wilderness Study Areas,

The citizen's suit provision should not have been added to the

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Bill. Mining should be integrated into public land use planning and management, as the Chairman has stated previously, yet the Bill discriminates against mining by imposing this kind of threat to hardrock mining, but not to such public land uses as timbering, grazing, recreation and power line rights of way. A citizens' suit provision should be discussed in relation to land use planning and public land management generally, or not at all. It should not be

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in the mining Law.

H.R. 918 also changes the fundamental land management standard

from the current "unnecessary and undue degradation" standard to "minimize adverse environmental impacts." No one is sure what is intended. The deletion of the "unnecessary and undue degradation" standard entirely is read by some to imply that the land manager can prevent any degradation, i.e., minimize impacts by prohibiting mining Such a provision is of course a fundamental threat to mining; FLPMA expressly recognized that there may be necessary, or due, degradation in mining and all other multiple uses of public land. The only way this change is benign is if Section 201(a) was intended simply to make the current Forest Service standard for action on plans of operations applicable both to Forest and public multiple use lands. This Forest Service standard recognizes the right to mine, and observes the distinction between minimizing and prohibiting adverse impacts. In other words, under this standard one cannot minimize impacts by prohibiting mining. Some miners and environmentalists agree that an appropriate standard is "prevent

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impacts." The important thing is to distinguish between minimizing

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