Summary: H.R.963 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.963. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (02/13/2015)

Hardrock Mining Reform and Reclamation Act of 2015

Applies this Act to any mining claim, millsite claim, or tunnel site claim located under the general mining laws.

Subjects to the requirements of this Act, except in specified circumstances, any unpatented mining claim or millsite claim located under the general mining laws before the enactment of this Act for which a plan of operation has not been approved or a notice filed before the date of enactment.

Prohibits the issuance of a patent for any mining or millsite claims whose application was filed after September 30, 1994.

Subjects production of locatable minerals to a royalty of 8% of the gross income from mining.

Reduces that royalty to 4% in the case of federal land subject to an operations permit on the date of the enactment of this Act and produces valuable locatable minerals in commercial quantities on that date.

Declares any royalty inapplicable to a person whose annual gross income from mineral production, including the income of all related parties, is less than $100,000.

Prescribes a hardrock mining claim maintenance fee for each unpatented mining claim, mill, or tunnel site on federally owned lands, except for a claimant who, together with all related parties, held not more than 10 mining claims, mill sites, or tunnel sites (or any combination) on public lands, and performed required assessment work.

Designates certain wilderness study areas, areas of critical environmental concern, and related areas as not open to location of mining claims.

Permits a state or local government or Indian tribe to petition the Secretary of the Interior for withdrawal of specific federal land from operation of the general mining laws in order to protect specific values.

Directs the Secretary to ensure that mineral activities on federal land subject to a claim are carefully controlled to prevent undue degradation of public lands and resources.

Prescribes requirements for the exploration permit process and for operations permits, including financial assurances.

Requires restoration of lands to a condition capable of supporting prior uses or other beneficial uses.

Establishes the Hardrock Minerals Fund, composed of the Hardrock Reclamation Account and the Hardrock Community Impact Assistance Account.

Requires each operator of a hardrock mining operation to pay the Secretary, for deposit in the Fund, a displaced material reclamation fee of 7 cents per ton of displaced material.

Authorizes use of amounts in the Hardrock Reclamation Account for the reclamation and restoration of land and water resources adversely affected by past hardrock mineral activities and related activities.

Amends the National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980 to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to initiate prompt actions to improve the availability and analysis of mineral data in public land use decision-making with respect to National Forest System lands.

Restricts to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia judicial review of any final action constituting rulemaking to implement this Act.

Amends the Energy Policy Act of 1992 to reflect the provisions of this Act regarding oil shale claims.

Repeals the Building Stone Act and the Saline Placer Act.

Good Samaritan Cleanup of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act of 2015

Encourages remediation of inactive and abandoned mine sites by Good Samaritans (defined as individuals or entities who had no role in the creation of the historic mine residue or any resulting environmental pollution and are not legally responsible for the remediation of the historic mine residue).

Amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) to authorize a permitting authority with an approved Good Samaritan program to issue Good Samaritan discharge permits. Prescribes permit requirements.

Shields from liability under such Act Good Samaritans who comply with a discharge permit approved under this Act.