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H. R. 643
To amend section 37 of the Mineral Leasing Act relating to oil shale claims, and
for other purposes.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
JANUARY 24, 1989 Mr. RAHALL himself, Mr. UDALL, Mr. VENTO, Mr. MILLER of California,
Mr. Yates, and Mr. CAMPBELL of Colorado) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs
A BILL To amend section 37 of the Mineral Leasing Act relating to oil
shale claims, and for other purposes.
1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
(1) Certain oil shale mining claims were located pursuant to the General Mining Act of May 10, 1872,
before enactment of the Mineral Leasing Act of Febru
ary 25, 1920, which provides for the leasing of that
(2) Section 37 of the Mineral Leasing Act permit
ted oil shale claims that were “maintained in compli
ance with the laws under which initiated" to be per
(3) The holders of those oil shale claims that have
not been patented have been afforded ample opportunity to apply for patents over the last sixty-eight years
but have failed to take such action.
(4) Both the Mining Act of 1872 and the Mineral Leasing Act were intended to accomplish the development of the mineral resources of the Nation, including
(5) Almost none of the oil shale claims have been
developed for their oil shale in the intervening sixty
(6) The continued existence of these oil shale
claims restricts the lands from the development of
other minerals which may exist on the claimed lands.
(7) The continued existence of these oil shale
(8) Issuing patents for these claims at this time
would likely result in nonmineral development contrary to the intent of the Mining Act of 1872 and the Miner
(9) The lands embraced in an unpatented claim remain subject to the disposing power of the Congress until all conditions imposed by law for issuance of a
patent are fully satisfied.
(10) Either the conversion of valid oil shale claims
to leases or requiring diligent work toward production on such claims, together with the cancellation of invalid claims, would promote mineral development in
cluding for oil shale.
(11) It is in the public interest for these claims to be brought to some final resolution so that Federal lands affected may be properly managed for their min
eral and other values in accordance with the laws and
15 SEC. 2. AMENDMENT TO THE MINERAL LEASING ACT.
16 Section 37 of the Mineral Leasing Act (30 U.S.C. 181 17 and following) is amended by inserting “(a)" before the first 18 sentence and by adding the following new subsections at the
19 end thereof:
“(b) After January 24, 1989, no patent shall be issued 21 by the United States for any oil shale claim referred to in 22 subsection (a) except for those claims for which (1) a patent 23 application had been filed with the Secretary of the Interior, 24 and (2) all requirements for a patent have been fully complied
25 with by that date.
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1 "(c) The Secretary of the Interior shall undertake an 2 expedited program to determine the validity of all unpatented 3 oil shale claims referred to in subsection (a). The Secretary
4 shall make a determination with respect to each such claim
5 within two years after the enactment of this subsection. The
6 expedited program shall include an examination of all unpat
7 ented oil shale claims, including those for which a patent ap8 plication has not been filed. If a claim is determined to be
9 invalid, the Secretary shall promptly cancel the claim.
11 referred to in subsection (a) shall make an election under
12 paragraph (2) or paragraph (3) of this subsection. The elec-
21 a lease under section 21. If such an election is made the
22 claimholder shall file an application for lease within ninety 23 days after the enactment of this subsection. Upon receiving 24 such an application the Secretary shall issue a lease to the 25 owner of such claim for the area covered by the claim if the
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1 claim is determined to be valid. A lease under this paragraph 2 shall be issued in accordance with the provisions of section
3 21 except as follows:
"(A) The term of the lease shall be twenty years
and for so long thereafter as shale oil is produced annually in commercial quantities from the lease.
"(B) The acreage limitations contained in section
"(C) The second proviso of section 21(a) shall not
12 under this subsection may elect to maintain the claim by 13 complying with all provisions of the mining laws of the 14 United States regarding the maintenance of mining claims, 15 with section 314 of Public Law 94-579, and with such addi
16 tional requirements as the Secretary shall prescribe, by rule,
17 to assure that an amount is expended annually which (A) 18 represents diligent efforts toward the production of shale oil
19 and (B) includes substantial work on the claim. The Secre
20 tary shall promulgate a final rule under this paragraph within 21 ninety days after the enactment of this subsection. The 22 annual expenditure requirement under such rule shall take 23 effect on the first day of the first month of September which 24 occurs more than ninety days after the enactment of this sub
25 section. The Secretary shall review the expenditures made
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