Summary: H.R.3350 — 95th Congress (1977-1978)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (07/26/1978)

(Measure passed House, amended (inserted text of H.R. 12988), roll call #603 (312-80))

Deep Seabed Hard Mineral Resources Act - =Title I: Regulation of Exploration and Commercial Recovery by United States Citizens= - Disclaims extraterritorial sovereignty by the United States over deep seabeds. Prohibits any United States citizen from engaging in exploration or commercial recovery unless authorized: (1) under a license issued pursuant to this Act; (2) under a license issued by a reciprocating state; or (3) pursuant to an international agreement. Permits the continuation of existing exploration upon timely application for such license. Prohibits interference with the activities of a licensee under this Act. Stipulates activities which are exempted from this Act. Sets forth procedures for the issuance of, and limitations upon, licenses for exploration and commercial recovery under this Act.

Prohibits the Secretary of Commerce from issuing such licenses or permits under specified conditions. Requires permittees to use: (1) for actual commercial recovery or processing at sea of hard mineral resources, vessels documented under the laws of the United States; and (2) for the transportation from the mine site of recovered hard mineral resources, a minimum of one vessel documented under the laws of the United States. Provides that, for the purposes of the shipping laws of the United States, vessels documented under United States laws and used in the transportation from any mining site of hard mineral resources recovered under a permit issued under this title shall be deemed to be used in an essential service in the foreign commerce or trade of the United States.

Declares any United States citizen eligible for a license for exploration. Establishes a formula for the determination of priority of right for issuance. Sets forth findings which must be made prior to issuance of a license of exploration or commercial recovery. Permits modifications or suspension of operations upon order of the Secretary. Provides for an antitrust review by the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission of any such license application. Stipulates procedures and effects of denial, suspension, or revocation of a license. Directs the Secretary to issue regulations for the implementation of this Act.

Directs the Secretary, in cooperation with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and with the assistance of other appropriate Federal agencies, to prepare an environmental impact statement with respect to the areas likely to be developed by United States citizens, and to undertake a continuing review of such information. Specifies criteria for the size of areas of exploration or commercial recovery. Requires the Secretary to impose performance requirements upon licensees. Permits relinquishment or surrender of such licenses. Requires certain record keeping, environmental impact statements, navigational safety procedures and disclosure by licensees. Prohibits licensees from interfering with reasonable uses of the seas. Permits the Secretary to monitor exploration or commercial recovery operations.

Authorizes the Secretary to amend, at any time, regulations established to carry out this Act in order to conserve natural resources, protect the environment, and protect the safety of life and property at sea. Requires the Secretary to hold at least one public hearing on any such proposed amendment.

Permits the President to designate "reciprocating states" as defined by this Act. Requires the Secretary to report to Congress annually on the administration of this Act, including, but not limited to, (1) a summary of the results of the environmental monitoring and of the environmental impact assessment; and (2) a description and estimate of any damage to the quality of the environment resulting from exploration and commercial recovery operations.

=Title II: Transition to International Agreement= - Declares the intent of Congress regarding any international seabed agreements to which the United States may become a party to be: (1) to provide reasonable access to the deep seabed mineral resources for United States citizens; and (2) to recognize certain continuing seabed mining rights of United States citizens who have begun such mining operations prior to any such international agreement. Sets forth the effect upon specified provisions of this Act resulting from subsequent international agreements.

=Title III: Civil Penalties, Criminal Offenses, and Miscellaneous Provisions= - Establishes civil and criminal penalties for violations of this Act. Directs the Secretary of Commerce to enforce this Act. Makes vessels in violation of this Act liable in rem for such violation.

=Title IV: Tax - Deep Seabed Hard Mineral Removal Tax Act= - Amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 to impose a tax on the removal of hard mineral resources from the deep seabed.

Establishes in the United States Treasury a Deep Seabed Revenue Sharing Trust Fund.