Text: S.263 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)All Information (Except Text)

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Referred in House (07/27/2005)

[Congressional Bills 109th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 263 Referred in House (RFH)]

  1st Session
                                 S. 263



                             July 27, 2005

    Referred to the Committee on Resources, and in addition to the 
Committee on Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by 
the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall 
           within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


                                 AN ACT

 To provide for the protection of paleontological resources on Federal 
                     lands, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Paleontological Resources 
Preservation Act''.


    As used in this Act:
            (1) Casual collecting.--The term ``casual collecting'' 
        means the collecting of a reasonable amount of common 
        invertebrate and plant paleontological resources for non-
        commercial personal use, either by surface collection or the 
        use of non-powered hand tools resulting in only negligible 
        disturbance to the Earth's surface and other resources. As used 
        in this paragraph, the terms ``reasonable amount'', ``common 
        invertebrate and plant paleontological resources'' and 
        ``negligible disturbance'' shall be determined by the 
            (2) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of the Interior with respect to lands controlled or 
        administered by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary 
        of Agriculture with respect to National Forest System Lands 
        controlled or administered by the Secretary of Agriculture.
            (3) Federal lands.--The term ``Federal lands'' means--
                    (A) lands controlled or administered by the 
                Secretary of the Interior, except Indian lands; or
                    (B) National Forest System lands controlled or 
                administered by the Secretary of Agriculture.
            (4) Indian lands.--The term ``Indian Land'' means lands of 
        Indian tribes, or Indian individuals, which are either held in 
        trust by the United States or subject to a restriction against 
        alienation imposed by the United States.
            (5) State.--The term ``State'' means the fifty States, the 
        District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any 
        other territory or possession of the United States.
            (6) Paleontological resource.--The term ``paleontological 
        resource'' means any fossilized remains, traces, or imprints of 
        organisms, preserved in or on the earth's crust, that are of 
        paleontological interest and that provide information about the 
        history of life on earth, except that the term does not 
                    (A) any materials associated with an archaeological 
                resource (as defined in section 3(1) of the 
                Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (16 
                U.S.C. 470bb(1)); or
                    (B) any cultural item (as defined in section 2 of 
                the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation 
                Act (25 U.S.C. 3001)).


    (a) In General.--The Secretary shall manage and protect 
paleontological resources on Federal lands using scientific principles 
and expertise. The Secretary shall develop appropriate plans for 
inventory, monitoring, and the scientific and educational use of 
paleontological resources, in accordance with applicable agency laws, 
regulations, and policies. These plans shall emphasize interagency 
coordination and collaborative efforts where possible with non-Federal 
partners, the scientific community, and the general public.
    (b) Coordination.--To the extent possible, the Secretary of the 
Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture shall coordinate in the 
implementation of this Act.


    The Secretary shall establish a program to increase public 
awareness about the significance of paleontological resources.


    (a) Permit Requirement.--
            (1) In general.--Except as provided in this Act, a 
        paleontological resource may not be collected from Federal 
        lands without a permit issued under this Act by the Secretary.
            (2) Casual collecting exception.--The Secretary may allow 
        casual collecting without a permit on Federal lands controlled 
        or administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of 
        Reclamation, and the Forest Service, where such collection is 
        consistent with the laws governing the management of those 
        Federal lands and this Act.
            (3) Previous permit exception.--Nothing in this section 
        shall affect a valid permit issued prior to the date of 
        enactment of this Act.
    (b) Criteria for Issuance of a Permit.--The Secretary may issue a 
permit for the collection of a paleontological resource pursuant to an 
application if the Secretary determines that--
            (1) the applicant is qualified to carry out the permitted 
            (2) the permitted activity is undertaken for the purpose of 
        furthering paleontological knowledge or for public education;
            (3) the permitted activity is consistent with any 
        management plan applicable to the Federal lands concerned; and
            (4) the proposed methods of collecting will not threaten 
        significant natural or cultural resources.
    (c) Permit Specifications.--A permit for the collection of a 
paleontological resource issued under this section shall contain such 
terms and conditions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the 
purposes of this Act. Every permit shall include requirements that--
            (1) the paleontological resource that is collected from 
        Federal lands under the permit will remain the property of the 
        United States;
            (2) the paleontological resource and copies of associated 
        records will be preserved for the public in an approved 
        repository, to be made available for scientific research and 
        public education; and
            (3) specific locality data will not be released by the 
        permittee or repository without the written permission of the 
    (d) Modification, Suspension, and Revocation of Permits.--
            (1) The Secretary may modify, suspend, or revoke a permit 
        issued under this section--
                    (A) for resource, safety, or other management 
                considerations; or
                    (B) when there is a violation of term or condition 
                of a permit issued pursuant to this section.
            (2) The permit shall be revoked if any person working under 
        the authority of the permit is convicted under section 7 or is 
        assessed a civil penalty under section 8.
    (e) Area Closures.--In order to protect paleontological or other 
resources and to provide for public safety, the Secretary may restrict 
access to or close areas under the Secretary's jurisdiction to the 
collection of paleontological resources.


    Any paleontological resource, and any data and records associated 
with the resource, collected under a permit, shall be deposited in an 
approved repository. The Secretary may enter into agreements with non-
Federal repositories regarding the curation of these resources, data, 
and records.


    (a) In General.--A person may not--
            (1) excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or deface 
        or attempt to excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or 
        deface any paleontological resources located on Federal lands 
        unless such activity is conducted in accordance with this Act;
            (2) exchange, transport, export, receive, or offer to 
        exchange, transport, export, or receive any paleontological 
        resource if, in the exercise of due care, the person knew or 
        should have known such resource to have been excavated or 
        removed from Federal lands in violation of any provisions, 
        rule, regulation, law, ordinance, or permit in effect under 
        Federal law, including this Act; or
            (3) sell or purchase or offer to sell or purchase any 
        paleontological resource if, in the exercise of due care, the 
        person knew or should have known such resource to have been 
        excavated, removed, sold, purchased, exchanged, transported, or 
        received from Federal lands.
    (b) False Labeling Offenses.--A person may not make or submit any 
false record, account, or label for, or any false identification of, 
any paleontological resource excavated or removed from Federal lands.
    (c) Penalties.--A person who knowingly violates or counsels, 
procures, solicits, or employs another person to violate subsection (a) 
or (b) shall, upon conviction, be fined in accordance with title 18, 
United States Code, or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both; but 
if the sum of the commercial and paleontological value of the 
paleontological resources involved and the cost of restoration and 
repair of such resources does not exceed $500, such person shall be 
fined in accordance with title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned 
not more than one year, or both.
    (d) General Exception.--Nothing in subsection (a) shall apply to 
any person with respect to any paleontological resource which was in 
the lawful possession of such person prior to the date of the enactment 
of this Act.


    (a) In General.--
            (1) Hearing.--A person who violates any prohibition 
        contained in an applicable regulation or permit issued under 
        this Act may be assessed a penalty by the Secretary after the 
        person is given notice and opportunity for a hearing with 
        respect to the violation. Each violation shall be considered a 
        separate offense for purposes of this section.
            (2) Amount of penalty.--The amount of such penalty assessed 
        under paragraph (1) shall be determined under regulations 
        promulgated pursuant to this Act, taking into account the 
        following factors:
                    (A) The scientific or fair market value, whichever 
                is greater, of the paleontological resource involved, 
                as determined by the Secretary.
                    (B) The cost of response, restoration, and repair 
                of the resource and the paleontological site involved.
                    (C) Any other factors considered relevant by the 
                Secretary assessing the penalty.
            (3) Multiple offenses.--In the case of a second or 
        subsequent violation by the same person, the amount of a 
        penalty assessed under paragraph (2) may be doubled.
            (4) Limitation.--The amount of any penalty assessed under 
        this subsection for any one violation shall not exceed an 
        amount equal to double the cost of response, restoration, and 
        repair of resources and paleontological site damage plus double 
        the scientific or fair market value of resources destroyed or 
        not recovered.
    (b) Petition for Judicial Review; Collection of Unpaid 
            (1) Judicial review.--Any person against whom an order is 
        issued assessing a penalty under subsection (a) may file a 
        petition for judicial review of the order in the United States 
        District Court for the District of Columbia or in the district 
        in which the violation is alleged to have occurred within the 
        30-day period beginning on the date the order making the 
        assessment was issued. Upon notice of such filing, the 
        Secretary shall promptly file such a certified copy of the 
        record on which the order was issued. The court shall hear the 
        action on the record made before the Secretary and shall 
        sustain the action if it is supported by substantial evidence 
        on the record considered as a whole.
            (2) Failure to pay.--If any person fails to pay a penalty 
        under this section within 30 days--
                    (A) after the order making assessment has become 
                final and the person has not filed a petition for 
                judicial review of the order in accordance with 
                paragraph (1); or
                    (B) after a court in an action brought in paragraph 
                (1) has entered a final judgment upholding the 
                assessment of the penalty, the Secretary may request 
                the Attorney General to institute a civil action in a 
                district court of the United States for any district in 
                which the person if found, resides, or transacts 
                business, to collect the penalty (plus interest at 
                currently prevailing rates from the date of the final 
                order or the date of the final judgment, as the case 
                may be). The district court shall have jurisdiction to 
                hear and decide any such action. In such action, the 
                validity, amount, and appropriateness of such penalty 
                shall not be subject to review. Any person who fails to 
                pay on a timely basis the amount of an assessment of a 
                civil penalty as described in the first sentence of 
                this paragraph shall be required to pay, in addition to 
                such amount and interest, attorneys fees and costs for 
                collection proceedings.
    (c) Hearings.--Hearings held during proceedings instituted under 
subsection (a) shall be conducted in accordance with section 554 of 
title 5, United States Code.
    (d) Use of Recovered Amounts.--Penalties collected under this 
section shall be available to the Secretary and without further 
appropriation may be used only as follows:
            (1) To protect, restore, or repair the paleontological 
        resources and sites which were the subject of the action, or to 
        acquire sites with equivalent resources, and to protect, 
        monitor, and study the resources and sites. Any acquisition 
        shall be subject to any limitations contained in the organic 
        legislation for such Federal lands.
            (2) To provide educational materials to the public about 
        paleontological resources and sites.
            (3) To provide for the payment of rewards as provided in 
        section 9.


    (a) Rewards.--The Secretary may pay from penalties collected under 
section 7 or 8--
            (1) consistent with amounts established in regulations by 
        the Secretary; or
            (2) if no such regulation exists, an amount equal to the 
        lesser of one-half of the penalty or $500, to any person who 
        furnishes information which leads to the finding of a civil 
        violation, or the conviction of criminal violation, with 
        respect to which the penalty was paid. If several persons 
        provided the information, the amount shall be divided among the 
        persons. No officer or employee of the United States or of any 
        State or local government who furnishes information or renders 
        service in the performance of his official duties shall be 
        eligible for payment under this subsection.
    (b) Forfeiture.--All paleontological resources with respect to 
which a violation under section 7 or 8 occurred and which are in the 
possession of any person, and all vehicles and equipment of any person 
that were used in connection with the violation, shall be subject to 
civil forfeiture, or upon conviction, to criminal forfeiture. All 
provisions of law relating to the seizure, forfeiture, and condemnation 
of property for a violation of this Act, the disposition of such 
property or the proceeds from the sale thereof, and remission or 
mitigation of such forfeiture, as well as the procedural provisions of 
chapter 46 of title 18, United States Code, shall apply to the seizures 
and forfeitures incurred or alleged to have incurred under the 
provisions of this Act.
    (c) Transfer of Seized Resources.--The Secretary may transfer 
administration of seized paleontological resources to Federal or non-
Federal educational institutions to be used for scientific or 
educational purposes.


    Information concerning the nature and specific location of a 
paleontological resource the collection of which requires a permit 
under this Act or under any other provision of Federal law shall be 
exempt from disclosure under section 552 of title 5, United States 
Code, and any other law unless the Secretary determines that disclosure 
            (1) further the purposes of this Act;
            (2) not create risk of harm to or theft or destruction of 
        the resource or the site containing the resource; and
            (3) be in accordance with other applicable laws.


    As soon as practical after the date of the enactment of this Act, 
the Secretary shall issue such regulations as are appropriate to carry 
out this Act, providing opportunities for public notice and comment.


    Nothing in this Act shall be construed to--
            (1) invalidate, modify, or impose any additional 
        restrictions or permitting requirements on any activities 
        permitted at any time under the general mining laws, the 
        mineral or geothermal leasing laws, laws providing for minerals 
        materials disposal, or laws providing for the management or 
        regulation of the activities authorized by the aforementioned 
        laws including but not limited to the Federal Land Policy 
        Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1701-1784), Public Law 94-429 
        (commonly known as the ``Mining in the Parks Act'') (16 U.S.C. 
        1901 et seq.), the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act 
        of 1977 (30 U.S.C. 1201-1358), and the Organic Administration 
        Act (16 U.S.C. 478, 482, 551);
            (2) invalidate, modify, or impose any additional 
        restrictions or permitting requirements on any activities 
        permitted at any time under existing laws and authorities 
        relating to reclamation and multiple uses of Federal lands;
            (3) apply to, or require a permit for, casual collecting of 
        a rock, mineral, or invertebrate or plant fossil that is not 
        protected under this Act;
            (4) affect any lands other than Federal lands or affect the 
        lawful recovery, collection, or sale of paleontological 
        resources from lands other than Federal lands;
            (5) alter or diminish the authority of a Federal agency 
        under any other law to provide protection for paleontological 
        resources on Federal lands in addition to the protection 
        provided under this Act; or
            (6) create any right, privilege, benefit, or entitlement 
        for any person who is not an officer or employee of the United 
        States acting in that capacity. No person who is not an officer 
        or employee of the United States acting in that capacity shall 
        have standing to file any civil action in a court of the United 
        States to enforce any provision or amendment made by this Act.


    There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be 
necessary to carry out this Act.

            Passed the Senate July 26, 2005.


                                             EMILY J. REYNOLDS,