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114th Congress  }                                            { Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session     }                                            { 114-658

======================================================================
 
                     MINING SCHOOLS ENHANCEMENT ACT

                                _______
                                

  July 5, 2016.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 3734]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 3734) to amend the Surface Mining Control and 
Reclamation Act of 1977 to provide support to mining schools, 
and for other purposes, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill 
do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 3734 is to amend the Surface Mining 
Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to provide support to 
mining schools.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    Within the next 10 to 15 years, approximately 70 percent of 
the United States' mining industry's technical leaders will 
reach retirement age. The National Research Council (NRC) 
identified this aging demographic within the mining sector as 
the ``most critical issue'' facing the workforce, and 
highlighted the ``paucity of candidates to replace'' the 
retiring workforce in the ``mining-related faculty at 
institutions of higher knowledge.'' Evidencing this is the 
decrease in the number of accredited mining and mineral 
engineering programs, which has fallen from 25 in 1982 to 14 in 
2007, and a corresponding decline in faculty, which fell from 
120 in 1984 to 70 in 2007.
    The issues of a retiring workforce and a resultant lack of 
mining expertise are not limited solely to industry, but also 
affects the federal regulatory agencies. Indeed, 47 percent of 
the Mine Safety and Health Administration's coal sector 
workforce will be eligible for retirement by 2016, while the 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not employ a single 
mining engineer in its over 15,000 employee workforce. Without 
sufficient numbers of mining experts, more disasters like the 
Gold King Mine waste water spill are more likely to occur; 
therefore, it is crucial to encourage the training and 
development of mining and mineral engineers.
    One factor identified by the NRC as contributing to the 
decrease in mining and mineral engineering programs and faculty 
is the ``relative absence of consistent federal research 
funding to support graduate programs at mining schools.'' In 
1994, $52 million had been directed through the U.S. Bureau of 
Mines to fund research--a majority of which was received by 
mining schools. This program, however, was eliminated, and has 
been credited to be one of the root causes of weakening mining 
programs. Thus, one way to reinvigorate mining and mineral 
engineering programs would be an assurance of federal research 
directed to mining schools.
    When Congress passed the Surface Mining Control and 
Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA), it identified a principal 
purpose of the Act as ``provid[ing] for . . . the conduct of 
research investigations, experiments, and demonstrations, in 
the exploration, extraction, processing, development, and 
production of minerals and the training of mineral engineers 
and scientists in the field of mining, minerals resources, and 
technology.'' [emphasis added] Currently, the Office of Surface 
Mining (OSM) offers a research grant program for schools, but a 
minor fraction of the grants are directed to mining schools. 
For instance, only one of 18 current or completed projects in 
2014 was conducted at a mining school, while only seven of the 
entire 64 projects awarded over the past ten years were awarded 
to faculty members at mining engineering programs. To ensure 
the continued development of mining engineers and the statutory 
objectives of SMCRA are upheld, OSM should direct more of its 
grants towards mining and mineral engineering programs.
    This bill attempts to address the aforementioned issues by 
requiring OSM to direct at least 70 percent of its research 
funding to mining schools to ``enhance and support mining and 
mineral engineering programs.'' Such funds must provide a 
``significant opportunity for participation by undergraduate 
and graduate students at mining schools'' and must be used to 
promote: 1) studies of mining, mineral extraction efficiency, 
and related processing technology; 2) mineral economics, 
reclamation technology, and practices for active mining 
operations; 3) the development of remining systems and 
technologies that facilitate reclamation that fosters the 
recovery of resources at abandoned mine sites; 4) 
investigations of mineral resources extraction methods that 
reduce environmental and human impacts; 5) reducing dependence 
on foreign energy supplies; and 6) enhancing the 
competitiveness of United States energy technology exports.
    H.R. 3734 is part of the Committee's three-pronged response 
to the Gold King Mine and the Standard Mine spills that 
occurred in Colorado in August and September of 2015, which 
reports indicated were caused by the Environmental Protection 
Agency. These reports also highlighted the lack of technical 
expertise, in particular mining engineers, needed for mine 
reclamation work.
    The Gold King Mine spill, which turned the Animas River an 
ochre color, helped shine a national spotlight on the range of 
complex technical, legal, educational and funding related 
challenges that must be addressed to move forward with success 
in addressing abandoned mine lands not just in the Western 
U.S., but across the country. Members of the Natural Resources 
Committee have developed a package of reforms to address these 
challenges, including H.R. 3734. The other legislative measures 
are: H.R. 3843, the Locatable Minerals Claim Location and 
Maintenance Fees Act, introduced by Energy and Mineral 
Resources Subcommittee Chairman Doug Lamborn (R-CO); and H.R. 
3844, the Energy and Minerals Reclamation Foundation 
Establishment Act, introduced by Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA).

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 3734 was introduced on October 9, 2015, by Congressman 
Cresent Hardy (R-NV). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources, and within the Committee, to the 
Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. On December 14, 
2015, the Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On June 14, 
2016, the Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. 
The Subcommittee was discharged by unanimous consent. No 
amendments were offered and the bill was adopted and ordered 
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by unanimous 
consent on June 15, 2016.

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                    Compliance With House Rule XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) 
of that Rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Under clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the following cost estimate for this bill from the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, June 29, 2016.
Hon. Rob Bishop,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3734, the Mining 
Schools Enhancement Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jeff LaFave.
            Sincerely,
                                             Mark P. Hadley
                                         (For Keith Hall, Director)
    Enclosure.

H.R. 3734--Mining Schools Enhancement Act

    H.R. 3734 would amend current law to require the Office of 
Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) to allocate 
70 percent of any funds used to support outside research to 
institutions of higher education with accredited mining or 
mineral engineering programs. In 2015, the agency spent $1 
million on outside research.
    OSMRE already has the authority to spend appropriated funds 
on outside research and H.R. 3734 would affect only the 
allocation of such funds; therefore, CBO estimates that 
implementing the legislation would have no effect on the 
federal budget. Enacting H.R. 3734 would not affect direct 
spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do 
not apply. CBO estimates that enacting the bill would not 
increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of 
the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
    H.R. 3734 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would benefit institutions of higher education that specialize 
in mining engineering by dedicating a greater share of federal 
mining research funds to support activities at such 
institutions. Any costs those entities might incur would result 
from participation in a voluntary federal program.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. Section 308(a) of Congressional Budget Act. As required 
by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget 
Act of 1974, this bill does not contain any new budget 
authority, spending authority, credit authority, or an increase 
or decrease in revenues or tax expenditures.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to amend the Surface Mining Control 
and Reclamation Act of 1977 to provide support to mining 
schools.

                           Earmark Statement

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    Compliance With Public Law 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       Compliance With H. Res. 5

    Directed Rule Making. The Chairman believes that this bill 
does not direct an executive branch official to conduct any 
specific rule-making proceedings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

                Preemption of State, Local or Tribal Law

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italics, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

SURFACE MINING CONTROL AND RECLAMATION ACT OF 1977

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


TITLE VII--ADMINISTRATIVE AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 721. RESEARCH.

   [The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement] 
(a)  In General._Subject to subsection (b), the Office of 
Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is authorized to 
conduct studies, research and demonstration projects relating 
to the implementation of, and compliance with, title V of this 
Act, and provide technical assistance to states for that 
purpose. Prior to approving any such studies, research or 
demonstration projects the Director, Office of Surface Mining 
Reclamation and Enforcement, shall first consult with the 
Director, Bureau of Mines, and obtain a determination from such 
Director that the Bureau of Mines is not already conducting 
like or similar studies, research or demonstration projects. 
Studies, research and demonstration projects for the purposes 
of title IV of this Act shall only be conducted in accordance 
with section 401(c)(6).
  (b) Mining Program Support.--
          (1) Of the amounts made available under this Act for 
        activities authorized under this section, the Director 
        of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and 
        Enforcement shall ensure that at least 70 percent is 
        expended to enhance and support mining and mineral 
        engineering programs in the United States by funding 
        activities at mining schools.
          (2) In expending funds under this section, the 
        Director shall consult with relevant stakeholders and 
        ensure a significant opportunity for participation by 
        undergraduate and graduate students at mining schools.
          (3) The Director shall ensure that the activities 
        conducted under this section relate to conventional 
        fuel resource development and production, and include--
                  (A) studies of mining, mineral extraction 
                efficiency, and related processing technology;
                  (B) mineral economics, reclamation 
                technology, and practices for active mining 
                operations;
                  (C) the development of remining systems and 
                technologies that facilitate reclamation that 
                fosters the recovery of resources at abandoned 
                mine sites;
                  (D) investigations of mineral resource 
                extraction methods that reduce environmental 
                and human impacts;
                  (E) reducing dependence on foreign energy 
                supplies; and
                  (F) enhancing the competitiveness of United 
                States energy technology exports.
  (c) Mining School Defined.--In this section the term ``mining 
school'' means a mining or mineral engineering program or 
department accredited by the Accreditation Board for 
Engineering and Technology, Inc., that is located at an 
institution of higher education (as that term is defined in 
section 631(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
1132(a))) in the United States.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

    We have serious concerns regarding H.R. 3734 because it 
would significantly restrict the limited amount of money 
provided through the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and 
Enforcement's (OSMRE's) Applied Science grant program to any 
school without an accredited mining or mineral engineering 
program.
    Already, funding for the Applied Science grant program is 
sporadic and insufficient, with no money appropriated for the 
program since 2012, and only $8.1 million provided from 2005 
through 2012. Allowing no more than 30 percent of any future 
appropriated money to go towards projects at otherwise world-
class universities that don't possess mining or mineral 
engineering programs arbitrarily limits the amount of money 
that can be awarded for ecosystem restoration studies and other 
worthwhile work that helps to mitigate or reverse the impact of 
surface mining.
    Schools such as Case Western Reserve University, the 
University of Oklahoma, the University of New Mexico, the 
University of Tennessee, and Stephen F. Austin State 
University, which received Applied Science grant money the last 
time it was available, would be unfairly disadvantaged in any 
future round of grant making. Furthermore, a good portion of 
the Applied Science grant money has gone to support important 
work at other federal and state agencies, such as the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, the 
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the Ohio 
Department of Natural Resources. These agencies would be forced 
to compete with the other non-mining schools for the limited 
pool of available money.
    We support mining engineering programs and would readily 
back a program that provided additional funding to those 
programs to accomplish the purposes of this bill. However, 
limiting the paltry amount of money currently made available 
under the Applied Science program to just 14 universities with 
mining engineering programs makes a small pie even smaller for 
agencies and schools that don't have those programs.
    We are prepared to work with the Majority on ideas to 
support education and workforce development in the mining 
industry, but we must avoid arbitrarily disadvantaging other 
worthwhile research efforts in order to do that.

                                   Raul Grijalva,
                                           Ranking Member, Committee on 
                                               Natural Resources.
                                   Grace Napolitano,
                                           Member of Congress.
                                   Alan Lowenthal,
                                           Ranking Member, Subcommittee 
                                               on Energy and Mineral 
                                               Resources.
                                   Jared Polis,
                                           Member of Congress.