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114th Congress   }                                  {    Rept. 114-717
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session      }                                  {           Part 1

======================================================================



 
       LOCATABLE MINERALS CLAIM LOCATION AND MAINTENANCE FEES ACT

                                _______
                                

 September 6, 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

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 3843]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 3843) to authorize for a 7-year period the 
collection of claim location and maintenance fees, and for 
other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably 
thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill as 
amended do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Locatable Minerals Claim Location and 
Maintenance Fees Act''.

SEC. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS.

  The table of contents for this Act is the following:

Sec. 1. Short title.
Sec. 2. Table of contents.

          TITLE I--MINING CLAIM LOCATION AND MAINTENANCE FEES

Sec. 101. Definitions.
Sec. 102. Claim location and maintenance fees.
Sec. 103. Mining claim validity exams and mineral reports for areas 
segregated or withdrawn from mineral entry.
Sec. 104. Authorization of appropriations.
Sec. 105. Mineral potential reports and mining claim validity exams.
Sec. 106. United States mineral deposit database.

  TITLE II--DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR INACTIVE AND ABANDONED NONCOAL 
                           MINE LANDS PROGRAM

Sec. 201. Definitions.
Sec. 202. Establishment of inactive and abandoned noncoal mine lands 
program.
Sec. 203. Inactive and abandoned mine land program partners.
Sec. 204. Priority sites for Good Samaritan projects on Federal lands.
Sec. 205. Authorization of appropriations.

     TITLE III--GOOD SAMARITAN REMEDIATION OF ABANDONED MINE LANDS

Sec. 301. Short title.
Sec. 302. Definitions.
Sec. 303. Permits for remediation of inactive or abandoned mine lands 
by Good Samaritans.
Sec. 304. State or tribal programs.
Sec. 305. Enforcement.
Sec. 306. Grants eligibility.
Sec. 307. Construction of the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969.
Sec. 308. Use of projects to meet offsite mitigation requirements.
Sec. 309. State and tribal reclamation plans under the Surface Mining 
Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.
Sec. 310. Savings provisions.
Sec. 311. Sunset.

          TITLE I--MINING CLAIM LOCATION AND MAINTENANCE FEES

SEC. 101. DEFINITIONS.

  In this title:
          (1) Claim.--The term ``claim'' means an unpatented lode 
        mining claim, placer claim, mill site, or tunnel site located 
        under the general mining laws.
          (2) Claim holder and claimant.--The terms ``claim holder'' 
        and ``claimant'' mean the owner or holder of a claim.
          (3) Certified mineral examiner.--The term ``Certified Mineral 
        Examiner'' means an employee of the Federal Government who--
                  (A) possesses sufficient college education to qualify 
                as a geologist, mining engineer, or metallurgical 
                engineer; and
                  (B) has completed training specified by the Chief 
                Mineral Examiner of the Bureau of Land Management, 
                Department of the Interior.
          (4) Certified review mineral examiner.--The term ``Certified 
        Review Mineral Examiner'' means a Certified Mineral Examiner 
        who is determined by the Bureau of Land Management Mineral 
        Examiner Certification Panel to possess an additional breadth 
        of training and experience that is sufficient to review mineral 
        potential reports and mining claim validity exam reports.
          (5) Federal lands.--The term ``Federal lands'' means lands 
        and interests in lands owned by the United States that are open 
        to mineral entry and location, or that were open to mineral 
        entry and location at the time of entry or location.
          (6) General mining laws.--The term ``general mining laws'' 
        means those Acts that generally comprise chapters 2, 11, 12, 
        12A, 15, and 16, and sections 161 and 162, of title 30, United 
        States Code, all Acts that are amendatory of or supplementary 
        to any of the foregoing Acts, and the judicial and 
        administrative decisions interpreting such Acts.
          (7) Locatable minerals.--The term ``locatable minerals'' 
        means those minerals held by the United States and not subject 
        to disposition under--
                  (A) the Mineral Leasing Act (30 U.S.C. 181 et seq.);
                  (B) the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 (30 U.S.C. 1001 
                et seq.);
                  (C) the Materials Act of 1947 (30 U.S.C. 601 et 
                seq.); or
                  (D) the Mineral Leasing Act for Acquired Lands (30 
                U.S.C. 351 et seq.).
          (8) Mineral activities.--The term ``mineral activities'' 
        means any activity on Federal lands under a claim with or 
        without a discovery, or off of claims, for mineral prospecting, 
        exploration, development, mining, extraction, milling, 
        beneficiation, processing, storage of mined or processed 
        materials, or reclamation activities for any locatable mineral 
        and uses that are reasonably incident thereto, including the 
        construction and use of roads, transmission lines, water wells, 
        pipelines, utility corridors, and other means of access across 
        Federal lands for ancillary facilities used in conjunction with 
        such activity.
          (9) Mineral potential report.--The term ``mineral potential 
        report'' means a report described in section 204(c)(2)(12) of 
        the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 
        1714(c)(2)(12)).
          (10) Mining claim validity exam.--The term ``mining claim 
        validity exam'' means an examination of a mining claim to 
        determine if it establishes a valid existing right in a 
        valuable mineral deposit (as that term is used in section 2319 
        of the Revised Statutes (30 U.S.C. 22)).
          (11) Person.--The term ``person'' means an individual, 
        partnership, association, society, joint venture, joint stock 
        company, firm, company, limited liability company, corporation, 
        cooperative, or other organization, and any instrumentality of 
        State or local government, including any publicly owned utility 
        or publicly owned corporation of State or local government.
          (12) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of the Interior, unless otherwise specified.
          (13) United states mineral deposit database project.--The 
        term ``United States Mineral Deposit Database Project'' means 
        the interactive database of mines and mineral deposits in the 
        United States administered by the United States Geological 
        Survey Mineral Resources Program.

SEC. 102. CLAIM LOCATION AND MAINTENANCE FEES.

  (a) Location Fee.--For each claim located after the date of enactment 
of this Act, a claimant shall pay the Secretary a location fee of $37 
not later than 90 days after the date of location, at the time the 
location notice is recorded with the Bureau of Land Management.
  (b) Annual Claim Maintenance Fee.--Commencing the first calendar year 
after the date of enactment of this Act, a claimant shall pay the 
Secretary on or before September 1 of each year, a claim maintenance 
fee of $155 per 20.66-acre claim or fraction thereof to maintain the 
claim for the following assessment year beginning at noon on September 
1. Payment of such claim maintenance fee shall be in lieu of the 
assessment work requirement contained in the general mining laws and 
the related filing requirements contained in subsections (a) and (c) of 
section 314 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 
U.S.C. 1744).
  (c) Waiver for Holders of 10 or Fewer Claims.--
          (1) In general.--The claim maintenance fee required under 
        this section shall be waived for a claimant who certifies in 
        writing to the Secretary that on the date the payment was due--
                  (A) the claimant was--
                          (i) the holder of not more than 10 lode 
                        claims on Federal lands; or
                          (ii) an association that held less than or 
                        equal to 320 acres; and
                  (B) the claimant has performed assessment work 
                sufficient to maintain the claims held by the claimant 
                for the assessment year ending on noon of September 1 
                of the calendar year in which the claim maintenance fee 
                payment was due.
          (2) Holder.--As used in paragraph (1), the term ``holder'' 
        includes--
                  (A) the claimant;
                  (B) the spouse and dependent children (as defined in 
                section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) of 
                the claimant; and
                  (C) a person affiliated with the claimant, 
                including--
                          (i) a person controlled by, controlling, or 
                        under common control with the claimant; and
                          (ii) a subsidiary or parent company or 
                        corporation of the claimant.
          (3) Certification processing fee.--The Secretary shall charge 
        a certification processing fee of $30 for the filing of a 
        certification under this subsection.
  (d) Suspension of Claim Maintenance and Waiver of Cost Recovery 
Fees.--
          (1) Claim maintenance fee.--The claim maintenance fees 
        required under this section shall be suspended for any claims 
        of a claimant for an area that was open to mineral entry and 
        location at the time of entry or location that has subsequently 
        been segregated or withdrawn from mineral entry and location by 
        order of the Secretary or a law enacted after the date of the 
        enactment of this Act until such time as the area is reopened 
        to mineral entry, or the claimant has submitted a notice or 
        permit to explore or develop his or her claims or is actively 
        mining.
          (2) Cost recovery fees.--The fees required by part 3000 of 
        title 43, Code of Federal Regulations, as in effect on the date 
        of enactment of this Act, and any substantially similar fee 
        charged for a mining claim validity exam, shall be waived for 
        any claimant with claims in an area that was open to mineral 
        entry and location at the time of claim location that has 
        subsequently been segregated or withdrawn from mineral entry 
        and location by order of the Secretary or a law enacted after 
        the date of the enactment of this Act.
  (e) Effects of Payment.--
          (1) In general.--Timely payment of the location and claim 
        maintenance fees under this section secures the rights of the 
        holder of a mining claim against the Federal Government both 
        prior to and after discovery of valuable mineral deposits, to 
        use and occupy Federal lands under the provisions of the 
        general mining laws for all mineral activities. This section 
        shall not be construed to amend section 910 of the Revised 
        Statutes (30 U.S.C. 53) or in any way affect the law of 
        possession or the doctrine of pedis possessio.
          (2) Waiver of claim maintenance fee.--In the case of a claim 
        holder who qualifies for a waiver of payment of the claim 
        maintenance fee under subsection (c), timely payment of the 
        location fee and compliance with the assessment work required 
        under the general mining laws (30 U.S.C. 28-28e) secures the 
        rights of the holder of a claim, both prior to and after 
        discovery of valuable mineral deposits, to use and occupy 
        Federal lands under the provisions of the general mining laws 
        for all mineral activities.
  (f) Forfeiture of Unpatented Claim for Failure To Pay Maintenance 
Fee.--
          (1) Failure to pay.--Failure to pay a claim maintenance fee 
        or a location fee under this section for an unpatented mining 
        claim shall subject the claim to forfeiture by the claim holder 
        as provided in this subsection.
          (2) Notice.--The Secretary of the Interior shall provide the 
        claim holder--
                  (A) notice of the failure; and
                  (B) the opportunity to correct the failure within 45 
                days after the claim holder's receipt of the notice.
          (3) Amount.--To correct the failure the claim holder must, 
        within such 45-day period, pay twice the amount of claim 
        maintenance fee that would otherwise have been required to be 
        timely paid. The Secretary shall specify the amount that must 
        be paid in the notice under paragraph (2).
          (4) Forfeiture.--Failure by the claim holder to make a timely 
        and proper payment in the amount specified in the notice, 
        within 45 days after the claim holder's receipt of the notice, 
        shall constitute a forfeiture of the mining claim by the claim 
        holder by operation of law.
  (g) Effective Period of Fees.--The fees imposed under this section 
shall apply during the period beginning September 1, 2016, and ending 
August 31, 2022.

SEC. 103. MINING CLAIM VALIDITY EXAMS AND MINERAL REPORTS FOR AREAS 
                    SEGREGATED OR WITHDRAWN FROM MINERAL ENTRY.

  All mining claim validity exams shall be completed by Certified 
Mineral Examiners and reviewed by Certified Review Mineral Examiners.

SEC. 104. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

  There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of the 
Interior to carry out mining law administration program operations 
$40,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2016 through 2022.

SEC. 105. MINERAL POTENTIAL REPORTS AND MINING CLAIM VALIDITY EXAMS.

  Mineral potential reports for areas withdrawn from mineral entry, and 
any mining claim validity exam on claims located within those areas, 
must be completed or prepared by a Certified Mineral Examiner and 
reviewed by Certified Review Mineral Examiner.

SEC. 106. UNITED STATES MINERAL DEPOSIT DATABASE.

  (a) In General.--Not later than 120 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Director of the United States Geological 
Survey shall enter into separate memoranda of understanding to share 
data for the purpose of expanding and maintaining the United States 
Mineral Deposit Database, with each of--
          (1) the Director of the Bureau of Land Management;
          (2) the Director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation 
        and Enforcement; and
          (3) the Chief Forester of the Forest Service.
  (b) Funding.--From amounts available for each of fiscal years 2016 
through 2022 for operations to administer the mining laws, the 
Secretary may use not more than $1,000,000 to support the United States 
Mineral Deposit Database of which not more than 5 percent may be used 
for overhead expenses.

  TITLE II--DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR INACTIVE AND ABANDONED NONCOAL 
                           MINE LANDS PROGRAM

SEC. 201. DEFINITIONS.

  In this title:
          (1) Environmental hazard.--The term ``environmental hazard'' 
        means degradation of air, soil, or water resources resulting 
        from the effects of past mining practices.
          (2) Historic mine residue.--The term ``historic mine 
        residue'' means mine residue, or conditions related to an 
        inactive or abandoned mine site that pollute the environment, 
        resulting from prior mining activities, including--
                  (A) tailings or mine waste piles;
                  (B) abandoned equipment (or materials in such 
                equipment); and
                  (C) acidic or otherwise polluted flows in surface or 
                ground water.
          (3) Inactive and abandoned noncoal mine lands.--The term 
        ``inactive and abandoned noncoal mine lands'' means any 
        location of a noncoal mine, including mill sites and processing 
        sites, that was inactive or abandoned before January 1, 1981, 
        and that--
                  (A) contains historic mine residue;
                  (B) is not owned by any person who caused or 
                contributed to the historic mine residue;
                  (C) was used for the production of a noncoal mineral; 
                and
                  (D) is no longer in operation and is not subject to a 
                temporary shutdown, as determined by the Secretary.
          (4) Physical safety hazard.--The term ``physical safety 
        hazard'' means any dangerous condition or effect resulting from 
        past mining practices, that poses a risk of death or serious 
        injury to the public, livestock, or wildlife.
          (5) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of 
        the Interior.
          (6) Water resources.--The term ``water resources'' means any 
        watershed, ground water, water course, or lake.

SEC. 202. ESTABLISHMENT OF INACTIVE AND ABANDONED NONCOAL MINE LANDS 
                    PROGRAM.

  (a) Establishment.--There is established in the Department of the 
Interior a program to be known as the Abandoned Noncoal Mine Lands 
Program (referred to in this section as the ``Program''). The Program 
shall be administered by the Secretary of the Interior acting through 
the Director of the Bureau of Land Management.
  (b) Description of Program.--Under the Program, the Secretary shall--
          (1) identify, secure, and remediate physical safety hazards 
        and environmental hazards associated with inactive and 
        abandoned noncoal mine lands that are located on, or affecting, 
        Federal public lands, including such hazards on other lands 
        that are adjacent to such Federal lands;
          (2) maintain an inventory of the sites of such inactive and 
        abandoned noncoal mines, affected Federal public lands, and 
        other lands that are adjacent to such Federal public lands, 
        including such sites that have been remediated in whole or in 
        part, and associated water resources; and
          (3) identify the persons, if any, who are responsible for 
        paying the costs to remediate such hazards.
  (c) Priorities.--In securing and remediating hazards under this 
title, the Secretary shall give priority (in the following order of 
priority) to--
          (1) the protection of public health, safety, and general 
        welfare from the adverse effects of inactive and abandoned 
        noncoal mine lands; and
          (2) the reclamation of land and water resources degraded by 
        the adverse effects of such mine lands.

SEC. 203. INACTIVE AND ABANDONED MINE LAND PROGRAM PARTNERS.

  The Secretary, where appropriate, shall seek out Federal agencies or 
departments, State agencies, Indian tribes, nonprofit organizations, 
individuals, and corporations to participate as partners, including 
partners that are Good Samaritans (as that term is defined in title 
III), to facilitate remediation and securing of physical safety or 
environmental hazards under this title.

SEC. 204. PRIORITY SITES FOR GOOD SAMARITAN PROJECTS ON FEDERAL LANDS.

  (a) Identification Required.--Not later than 120 days after the date 
of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior, acting 
through the Director of the Bureau of Land Management, and the 
Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest 
Service, in consultation with other Federal land management agencies, 
shall identify a minimum of 20 priority sites on Federal land 
containing inactive or abandoned mine sites suitable for Good Samaritan 
projects under title III.
  (b) Nominations.--In identifying priority sites under subsection (a), 
the Secretaries shall accept nominations from the public.
  (c) Annual Review.--The Secretaries shall annually review the sites 
identified under subsection (a) and identify additional priority sites 
as appropriate.

SEC. 205. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

  There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this title 
$17,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2016 through 2020.

     TITLE III--GOOD SAMARITAN REMEDIATION OF ABANDONED MINE LANDS

SEC. 301. SHORT TITLE.

  This title may be cited as the ``Good Samaritan Cleanup of Abandoned 
Mine Lands Act''.

SEC. 302. DEFINITIONS.

  In this title:
          (1) Administrator.--The term ``Administrator'' means the 
        Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
          (2) Cooperating person.--The term ``cooperating person'' 
        means any person (other than a Federal agency) that--
                  (A) is a Good Samaritan;
                  (B) assists another Good Samaritan in a remediation 
                project; and
                  (C) is identified as a cooperating person in a permit 
                issued under this title.
          (3) Environmental laws.--The term ``environmental laws'' 
        means--
                  (A) the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 
                U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) and any State law implementing a 
                permit program under section 402(b) or 404(g) of such 
                Act; and
                  (B) the Comprehensive Environmental Response, 
                Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. 9601 
                et seq.).
          (4) Federal land management agency.--The term ``Federal land 
        management agency'' means any agency of the Federal Government 
        authorized by statute to exercise jurisdiction, custody, or 
        control over lands of the United States.
          (5) Good samaritan.--The term ``Good Samaritan'' means any 
        person that did not participate in any way in the creation of, 
        or activities that caused, any historic mine residue at the 
        inactive or abandoned mine site and that--
                  (A) has an ownership interest in the inactive or 
                abandoned mine site, but--
                          (i) is not liable or potentially liable for 
                        remediation costs related to the historic mine 
                        residue at the inactive or abandoned mine site, 
                        or affiliated with any other person potentially 
                        so liable through any contractual, corporate, 
                        or financial relationship (other than a 
                        contractual, corporate, or financial 
                        relationship that is created by the instruments 
                        by which the ownership interest in the inactive 
                        or abandoned mine site is conveyed or financed 
                        or by a contract for the sale of goods or 
                        services); and
                          (ii) is not a successor entity to a business 
                        entity that was liable or potentially liable 
                        for such remediation costs;
                  (B) has an ownership interest in the inactive or 
                abandoned mine site that was acquired through the 
                inheritance of a patented mining claim; or
                  (C) has no ownership interest in the inactive or 
                abandoned mine site and had no such an interest at any 
                time during or since the creation of the historic mine 
                residue at the site.
          (6) Historic mine residue.--The term ``historic mine 
        residue'' means mine residue, or conditions related to an 
        inactive or abandoned mine site that pollute the environment, 
        resulting from prior mining activities, including--
                  (A) tailings or mine waste piles;
                  (B) abandoned equipment (or materials in such 
                equipment); and
                  (C) acidic or otherwise polluted flows in surface or 
                ground water.
          (7) Inactive or abandoned mine site.--The term ``inactive or 
        abandoned mine site'' means any mine site, including any mill 
        or processing site, that--
                  (A) contains historic mine residue;
                  (B) is not owned by any person who caused or 
                contributed to the historic mine residue;
                  (C) was used for the production of a mineral-bearing 
                ore or coal; and
                  (D) is no longer in operation and is not subject to a 
                temporary shutdown, as determined by the permitting 
                authority.
          (8) Indian country.--The term ``Indian country'' has the 
        meaning given the term in section 1151 of title 18, United 
        States Code.
          (9) Indian tribe.--The term ``Indian tribe'' means an Indian 
        tribe that--
                  (A) is federally recognized; or
                  (B) is an Alaska Native Corporation as defined under 
                section 1602 of title 43, United States Code.
          (10) Lead agency.--The term ``lead agency'' means a State or 
        tribal agency designated under section 304(c)(1) as the lead 
        agency responsible for carrying out permitting responsibilities 
        of the State or Indian tribe under this title.
          (11) Offsite mitigation requirement.--The term ``offsite 
        mitigation requirement'' means a requirement imposed under 
        another Federal law to improve, enhance, restore, or create a 
        wetland, stream, or habitat conservation area to offset or 
        compensate for adverse impacts to similar ecosystems resulting 
        from the development of a natural resource or other commercial 
        activity.
          (12) Permitting authority.--The term ``permitting authority'' 
        means the Administrator or, in the case of a State or tribal 
        program authorized by the Administrator under section 304, the 
        lead agency.
          (13) Remediation.--The term ``remediation'' means activities 
        to clean up or otherwise mitigate the impacts of historic mine 
        residue.
          (14) State.--The term ``State'' means any of the 50 States of 
        the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth 
        of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin 
        Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and any 
        other territory or possession over which the United States has 
        jurisdiction.

SEC. 303. PERMITS FOR REMEDIATION OF INACTIVE OR ABANDONED MINE LANDS 
                    BY GOOD SAMARITANS.

  (a) In General.--A permitting authority may issue a permit to a Good 
Samaritan to carry out a project in accordance with this section.
  (b) Eligible Projects.--
          (1) Purpose of project.--
                  (A) In general.--A permitting authority may issue a 
                permit under this section for a project to improve the 
                environment (including water quality) by carrying out 
                remediation at or related to an inactive or abandoned 
                mine site.
                  (B) Water quality.--A permitting authority shall 
                ensure that remediation carried out pursuant to a 
                permit issued under this section--
                          (i) assists in the attainment of applicable 
                        water quality standards to the extent 
                        reasonable and practicable under the 
                        circumstances; and
                          (ii) does not result in water quality that is 
                        worse than the baseline water condition.
          (2) Limitation on eligibility.--A permitting authority may 
        not issue a permit under this section for a project at or 
        related to a mine site included on the National Priorities List 
        developed by the President in accordance with section 
        105(a)(8)(B) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, 
        Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. 
        9605(a)(8)(B)) or a mine site at which the Administrator of the 
        Environmental Protection Agency or another Federal, State, or 
        tribal agency is taking an environmental enforcement or 
        response action, unless the permitting authority determines, 
        after consultation with any other interested agency, that--
                  (A) the proposed project is not inconsistent, and 
                will not interfere, with any other planned remediation 
                at the mine site that is reasonably likely to occur; 
                and
                  (B) the proposed project will accelerate 
                environmental improvements.
  (c) Permit Applications.--
          (1) Contents.--A permitting authority shall require an 
        application for a permit under this section to include--
                  (A) a description of the project site (including the 
                boundaries of the project site and any degraded waters 
                related to the project site);
                  (B) an identification of--
                          (i) any current owner of the property on 
                        which the project is proposed to be carried 
                        out;
                          (ii) any person with a legal right to exclude 
                        other persons from the project site or affect 
                        activities on the project site, with a 
                        description of those legal rights;
                          (iii) for project sites on Federal lands, the 
                        Federal land management agency; and
                          (iv) based on the conduct of an inquiry that 
                        is reasonable under the circumstances--
                                  (I) all persons that may be legally 
                                responsible for remediation of the 
                                project site; and
                                  (II) any relationship between those 
                                persons and the applicant;
                  (C) a description of any contractual ties or other 
                legal relationship between the applicant and all 
                persons with responsibility for compliance with 
                environmental laws at the project site;
                  (D) a general description of the known and 
                identifiable baseline conditions, including conditions 
                existing prior to the commencement of mining 
                activities, as of the date of submission of the 
                application, of the environment affected by the 
                historic mine residue to be remediated, including, if 
                available, any sampling data or information regarding 
                the nature and extent of the effects on the water 
                quality of any body of water caused by the drainage of 
                historic mine residue or other discharges from the 
                inactive or abandoned mine site;
                  (E) a description of--
                          (i) the historic mine residue proposed to be 
                        remediated;
                          (ii) the nature and scope of the proposed 
                        remediation, including--
                                  (I) any proposed recycling or 
                                reprocessing of the historic mine 
                                residue, how the recycling or 
                                reprocessing relates to the 
                                remediation, and where the recycling or 
                                reprocessing will occur; and
                                  (II) the manner in which the proposed 
                                remediation will mitigate the drainage 
                                from the inactive or abandoned mine 
                                site to improve water quality, if 
                                applicable;
                          (iii) the remediation alternatives, if any, 
                        considered in developing the proposed 
                        remediation plan for the project site;
                          (iv) engineering plans for the project, 
                        bearing the seal of a Professional Engineer;
                          (v) in the case of a remediation activity 
                        that requires plugging, opening, or otherwise 
                        altering the portal or adit of an inactive or 
                        abandoned mine, an evaluation of inactive or 
                        abandoned mine site conditions, including an 
                        assessment of any pooled water or hydraulic 
                        pressure in the inactive or abandoned mine;
                          (vi) how any material related to the inactive 
                        or abandoned mine site that is identified or 
                        listed as hazardous waste under the Solid Waste 
                        Disposal Act (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.) will be 
                        disposed of;
                          (vii) a monitoring program proposed to be 
                        carried out following completion of the 
                        remediation, if applicable, that will be 
                        implemented to evaluate the effects of the 
                        remediation on the environment; and
                          (viii) the capacity (including technical and 
                        administrative) of the applicant to carry out 
                        the proposed activities and any terms of the 
                        permit for which the application is being 
                        submitted;
                  (F) a plan for any operation and maintenance related 
                to the proposed remediation;
                  (G) a proposed schedule for activities to be carried 
                out under the project, including an expected completion 
                date for the remediation;
                  (H) a budget for the project;
                  (I) evidence satisfactory to the permitting authority 
                that the applicant has sufficient financial resources 
                to ensure that the activities proposed to be carried 
                out by the applicant, including any operation and 
                maintenance activities related to the remediation, will 
                be carried out under the permit;
                  (J) an identification of any cooperating persons and 
                a description of activities proposed to be carried out 
                by such persons;
                  (K) a description of--
                          (i) any recognition for excellence in 
                        environmental compliance, reclamation, or 
                        remediation received by the applicant or any 
                        cooperating person identified under 
                        subparagraph (J); and
                          (ii) the history of any noncompliance with 
                        environmental laws by the applicant or any 
                        cooperating person identified under 
                        subparagraph (J) during the 5-year period 
                        preceding submission of the application;
                  (L) if the applicant intends to use the project to 
                comply with an offsite mitigation requirement, a 
                reference to the offsite mitigation requirement and any 
                related permit; and
                  (M) a specific contingency plan that--
                          (i) includes provisions on emergency actions, 
                        response, and notification; and
                          (ii) is designed to be used in response to 
                        unplanned adverse events, including the sudden 
                        release of historic mine residue.
          (2) Notice requirements.--
                  (A) State, local, and tribal communities.--As soon as 
                practicable after receiving an application under this 
                section, a permitting authority shall provide notice of 
                the application, including a copy of the application, 
                to--
                          (i) each local government located within a 
                        radius of 20 miles of the project site;
                          (ii) each Federal, State, and tribal agency 
                        that the permitting authority determines may 
                        have an interest in the application; and
                          (iii) if the project site lies in the 
                        headwater area of a major drainage basin, local 
                        governments located outside of the 20-mile 
                        radius of the project site that are downstream 
                        of the project site and may be affected by a 
                        discharge resulting from activities carried out 
                        pursuant to the project.
                  (B) Public notice.--Not later than 30 days after 
                receiving an application under this section, a 
                permitting authority shall provide to the public notice 
                of the application.
          (3) Investigative sampling.--
                  (A) In general.--A permitting authority may, upon 
                request, authorize a person to carry out investigative 
                sampling, as determined appropriate by the permitting 
                authority, prior to submitting an application for a 
                permit under this section.
                  (B) Effect of authorization.--An authorization to 
                carry out investigative sampling under this section 
                shall, with respect to the authorized activities, have 
                the same effect as a permit for the purposes of 
                subsection (g).
  (d) Public Participation.--
          (1) Hearing.--Prior to issuing a permit under this section, a 
        permitting authority shall conduct a public hearing in the 
        vicinity of the proposed project site, and shall give public 
        notice of the hearing not later than 30 days before the date of 
        the hearing.
          (2) Draft permit.--The permitting authority shall include a 
        draft permit in the notice of a hearing to be conducted under 
        this section.
          (3) Comments.--The permitting authority shall provide the 
        applicant and the public with the opportunity to--
                  (A) comment on the draft permit at the public 
                hearing; and
                  (B) submit written comments to the permitting 
                authority during the 30-day period following the 
                hearing.
  (e) Permit Issuance.--
          (1) Deadline.--A permitting authority shall issue a permit or 
        deny a permit application under this section not later than--
                  (A) the date that is 180 days after the date on which 
                the permitting authority receives a complete 
                application for the permit, as determined by the 
                permitting authority; or
                  (B) such later date as may be determined by the 
                permitting authority, with the agreement of the 
                applicant.
          (2) Constructive denial.--If the permitting authority does 
        not issue a permit or deny the permit application by the 
        applicable date described in paragraph (1), the application 
        shall be considered to be denied by the permitting authority.
          (3) Agency consultation.--
                  (A) Consultation.--In considering whether to issue a 
                permit for a project to be carried out on Federal 
                lands, a permitting authority shall consult with any 
                applicable Federal land management agency.
                  (B) Objection.--A permitting authority may not issue 
                a permit under this section if--
                          (i) the proposed project site is not a 
                        priority site designated under section 204; and
                          (ii) the permitting authority receives an 
                        objection to the proposed permit from a Federal 
                        land management agency with jurisdiction over 
                        the project site.
  (f) Permit Contents.--
          (1) In general.--A permitting authority shall include in a 
        permit issued under this section--
                  (A) a description of the activities authorized by the 
                permit, including a description of any activities to be 
                carried out by a cooperating person in accordance with 
                paragraph (5);
                  (B) a schedule for the activities to be carried out 
                under the project, in accordance with paragraph (3), 
                including an end date by which the permittee shall 
                complete the permitted activities;
                  (C) conditions requiring the permittee to--
                          (i) secure, for all activities authorized 
                        under the permit, all authorizations, licenses, 
                        and permits required under law;
                          (ii) establish and maintain records, conduct 
                        monitoring (as described in paragraph (4)), and 
                        provide such other information as may be 
                        reasonably necessary to ensure the project will 
                        result in improvement to the environment; and
                          (iii) minimize any short-term adverse 
                        environmental impacts from the remediation, to 
                        the extent practicable;
                  (D) a right of entry to the project site for the 
                permitting authority to inspect and collect such 
                information as is reasonably necessary to carry out 
                this title;
                  (E) if the project to be carried out under the permit 
                will be used by the permittee to comply with an offsite 
                mitigation requirement, a reference to the offsite 
                mitigation requirement and any related permit; and
                  (F) any other terms and conditions determined 
                appropriate by the permitting authority.
          (2) Benchmarks.--A permitting authority shall ensure that a 
        permit issued under this section is site- and situation-
        specific, relying on pre-mining conditions and conditions 
        existing as of the date of issuance of the permit to determine 
        appropriate water quality or other environmental benchmarks to 
        achieve in carrying out remediation under the permit.
          (3) Timing.--A permitting authority shall require activities 
        authorized by a permit issued under this section to--
                  (A) commence not later than the date that is 1 year 
                after the date on which the permit is issued; and
                  (B) continue until completed, with temporary 
                suspensions permitted during adverse weather or other 
                circumstances, as approved by the permitting authority.
          (4) Monitoring.--
                  (A) In general.--A permitting authority shall require 
                a permittee to take such actions as the permitting 
                authority determines are necessary to ensure, where 
                appropriate, baseline, remedial alternative, and 
                postremediation monitoring of the environment.
                  (B) Administration.--In selecting the type and 
                frequency of monitoring requirements to be included in 
                a permit under this paragraph, the permitting authority 
                shall--
                          (i) balance the utility of information 
                        obtained through monitoring against the cost of 
                        the monitoring, based on the circumstances 
                        relating to the project; and
                          (ii) take into account the scope of the 
                        project.
          (5) Cooperative activities.--A permitting authority may 
        approve in a permit the conduct of project activities by 
        cooperating persons if, as determined by the permitting 
        authority, the cooperative arrangement will effectively 
        accomplish the purposes of this title.
  (g) Effect of Permit.--
          (1) In general.--A person authorized by a permit issued under 
        this section to carry out activities--
                  (A) shall be deemed to be in compliance with 
                environmental laws with respect to such activities; and
                  (B) shall not be liable under environmental laws with 
                respect to such activities, including for any costs or 
                damages deriving from the prior, present, or future 
                activities of others at the project site.
          (2) Limitation.--Paragraph (1) shall not apply if--
                  (A) the person impedes or fails to facilitate a 
                response action, remediation, or other natural resource 
                restoration activity at the project site;
                  (B) the person exacerbates the pollution from 
                historic mine residue as a result of gross negligence 
                or intentional misconduct, in which case the person may 
                be liable under environmental laws for costs or damages 
                resulting from such gross negligence or intentional 
                misconduct; or
                  (C) information supplied to the permitting authority 
                in the permit application is subsequently determined to 
                contain a dishonest, fraudulent, or materially 
                misleading statement or omission, in which case the 
                permit shall be deemed to have been invalid beginning 
                on the date the permit was issued, and shall have no 
                force or effect.
  (h) Administration of Permits.--
          (1) Modification or termination of permits.--
                  (A) Authority.--A permitting authority may--
                          (i) extend the period during which a permit 
                        is valid under procedures established for such 
                        purpose by the permitting authority;
                          (ii) modify or terminate a permit for cause, 
                        including misrepresentation or a violation of a 
                        permit; and
                          (iii) upon the request of the Good Samaritan, 
                        and subject to a 30 day public notice and 
                        comment period, modify a Good Samaritan permit 
                        to take into account any event or condition 
                        that--
                                  (I) significantly reduces the 
                                feasibility or significantly increases 
                                the cost of completing the remediation 
                                work at the inactive or abandoned mine 
                                site that is the subject of the Good 
                                Samaritan permit;
                                  (II) was not--
                                          (aa) contemplated by the Good 
                                        Samaritan; or
                                          (bb) taken into account in 
                                        the remediation plan of the 
                                        Good Samaritan; and
                                  (III) is beyond the control of the 
                                Good Samaritan, as determined by the 
                                permitting authority.
                  (B) Termination.--Unless the permitting authority has 
                extended the period during which a permit is valid, the 
                authority to carry out activities under a permit issued 
                under this section shall terminate--
                          (i) if the activities do not commence by the 
                        date that is 1 year after the date on which the 
                        permit is issued;
                          (ii) if the activities are discontinued or 
                        not completed by the end date specified in the 
                        permit; or
                          (iii) on any other grounds determined 
                        appropriate by the permitting authority.
          (2) Transfer of permits.--A permit may be transferred to 
        another person only if--
                  (A) the appropriate permitting authority determines 
                that the transferee will satisfy all of the 
                requirements of the permit;
                  (B) the transferee is a Good Samaritan;
                  (C) the transferee accepts all of the requirements of 
                the permit;
                  (D) the permitting authority includes in the 
                transferred permit any additional or modified 
                conditions determined to be appropriate by the 
                permitting authority; and
                  (E) any Federal, State, or tribal land management 
                agency with jurisdiction over the project site is 
                notified of the proposed transfer and does not object 
                to the permitting authority before the date that is 30 
                days before the proposed transfer is to take effect.
          (3) Maintenance of records.--A permitting authority shall 
        maintain all records relating to permits and the permit process 
        under this section.
  (i) Other Activities.--A permit issued under this section may not 
authorize any new mining activities other than those activities 
directly related to carrying out remediation at or related to the 
inactive or abandoned mine site.

SEC. 304. STATE OR TRIBAL PROGRAMS.

  (a) In General.--A State or Indian tribe may issue a permit under 
this title if the State or Indian tribe has in effect a Good Samaritan 
permit program approved by the Administrator under this section.
  (b) Application.--
          (1) Submission.--The Governor of any State or the head of an 
        Indian tribe's governing body may submit to the Administrator 
        an application to carry out a Good Samaritan permit program 
        within its jurisdiction at any time.
          (2) Contents.--An application under this section shall 
        include--
                  (A) a full and complete description of the Good 
                Samaritan permit program it proposes to administer 
                under State or tribal law; and
                  (B) a statement from the State Attorney General, or, 
                for an Indian tribe, the equivalent official authorized 
                to represent the tribe in court pertaining to the 
                application, that the laws of the State or Indian tribe 
                provide sufficient legal authority to carry out the 
                described program.
          (3) Approval.--Not later than 120 days after receiving an 
        application submitted under this subsection, the Administrator 
        shall approve the Good Samaritan permit program unless the 
        Administrator determines that the requirements of this section 
        are not met.
  (c) Requirements.--To meet the requirements of this section, a State 
or Indian tribe shall--
          (1) designate a lead agency that is responsible for carrying 
        out permitting responsibilities under this section; and
          (2) have in effect laws providing sufficient legal authority 
        to carry out a Good Samaritan permit program in accordance with 
        this title.
  (d) Delegation of Authority.--Upon approval of a State or tribal Good 
Samaritan permit program under this section, the Administrator shall 
transfer all authority to issue permits under this title for the State 
or relevant area of Indian country to the lead agency designated under 
subsection (c)(1).
  (e) Administration.--A State or tribal Good Samaritan permit program 
approved under this section shall be administered in accordance with 
this title, except that nothing in this title precludes a State or 
Indian tribe from imposing more stringent requirements on permit 
applicants or permittees.

SEC. 305. ENFORCEMENT.

  (a) In General.--A permitting authority may enforce any violation of 
this title, with respect to which the permitting authority has 
jurisdiction, by--
          (1) issuing an order to comply with the violated provision; 
        or
          (2) commencing a civil action for appropriate relief, 
        including a permanent or temporary injunction.
  (b) Minimum Requirement.--In the event of a permit violation, and 
absent extraordinary circumstances, the court shall, at a minimum, 
require the person to repair, to the extent practicable, the damage to 
any part of the environment caused by an action of the person in 
violation of the permit.
  (c) Civil Penalty.--Any person who violates this title shall be 
subject to a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each day of the 
violation (except in cases of knowing conduct, in which case the civil 
penalty shall be $32,500 for each day of the violation).

SEC. 306. GRANTS ELIGIBILITY.

  A project authorized by a permit issued under this title is eligible 
for funding pursuant to section 319 of the Federal Water Pollution 
Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1329).

SEC. 307. CONSTRUCTION OF THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT OF 
                    1969.

  No action of the Administrator taken pursuant to this title shall be 
required to comply with section 102 of the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332).

SEC. 308. USE OF PROJECTS TO MEET OFFSITE MITIGATION REQUIREMENTS.

  A project authorized by a permit issued under this title shall be 
considered to satisfy all or part of any offsite mitigation requirement 
of the permittee, upon approval by the authority imposing the offsite 
mitigation requirement.

SEC. 309. STATE AND TRIBAL RECLAMATION PLANS UNDER THE SURFACE MINING 
                    CONTROL AND RECLAMATION ACT OF 1977.

  No State or Indian tribe conducting remediation of an inactive or 
abandoned mine site pursuant to an approved State or tribal abandoned 
mine reclamation plan approved under title IV of the Surface Mining 
Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (30 U.S.C. 1231 et seq.) shall, 
with respect to the remediation activities, be required to obtain a 
permit under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et 
seq.).

SEC. 310. SAVINGS PROVISIONS.

  (a) Emergency Authority.--Nothing in this title affects the authority 
of a Federal, State, tribal, or local agency to carry out any emergency 
authority, including an emergency authority under environmental laws.
  (b) Liability Under Other Laws.--Except as provided in section 
303(g), nothing in this title or a permit issued under this title 
limits the liability of any person under any other provision of law.

SEC. 311. SUNSET.

  (a) In General.--No permitting authority may issue a permit under 
this title after the date that is 7 years after the date of enactment 
of this title.
  (b) Study; Report.--
          (1) Study.--Not earlier than 5 years after the date of 
        enactment of this title, the Administrator, the Secretary of 
        the Interior, and the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation 
        with the Interstate Mining Compact Commission, shall enter into 
        an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences, for 
        execution by the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, to 
        conduct a detailed, comprehensive study of the effectiveness of 
        the permitting activities carried out under this title.
          (2) Report.--Not later than 7 years after the date of 
        enactment of this title, the Board on Earth Sciences and 
        Resources shall submit to Congress, the appropriate Federal 
        agencies, and the Governors of each of the States represented 
        by the Interstate Mining Compact Commission a report 
        containing--
                  (A) the results of the study conducted under 
                paragraph (1); and
                  (B) any recommendations regarding whether the 
                permitting activities carried out under this title 
                should be reauthorized and, if so, any changes that 
                should be made to improve the effectiveness of the 
                activities.
          (3) Funding.--From the funds collected as claim location fees 
        and maintenance fees under section 102, the Secretary of the 
        Interior shall provide to the National Academy of Sciences such 
        funds as it requests, not to exceed $2,000,000, for the purpose 
        of conducting the study required under this section.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 3843 is to authorize for a seven-year 
period the collection of claim location and maintenance fees.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    H.R. 3843 is part of the Natural Resources Committee's 
three-pronged response to the Gold King Mine and the Standard 
Mine spills that occurred in Colorado in August and September 
2015, which the Committee is continuing to investigate. 
Preliminary reports indicated the spills were caused by the 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
    The Bureau of Reclamation, in the Department of the 
Interior's recent Technical Evaluation of the Gold King Mine 
Incident Report, ``found that the conditions and actions that 
led to the Gold King Mine incident are not isolated or unique, 
and in fact are surprisingly prevalent. The standards of 
practice for reopening and remediating flooded inactive and 
abandoned mines are inconsistent from one agency to another. 
There are various guidelines for this type of work but there is 
little in actual written requirements that government agencies 
are required to follow when reopening an abandoned mine.'' The 
report further states:

          The incident at Gold King Mine is somewhat emblematic 
        of the current state of practice in abandoned mine 
        remediation. The current state of practice appears to 
        focus attention on the environmental issues. Abandoned 
        mine guidelines and manuals provide detailed guidance 
        on environmental sampling, waste characterization, and 
        water treatment, with little appreciation for the 
        engineering complexity of some abandoned mine projects 
        that often require, but do not receive, a significant 
        level of expertise.

    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 (AML), 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. 
3843. The others are: H.R. 3734, the Mining Schools Enhancement 
Act, introduced by Congressman Cresent Hardy (R-NV) and 
cosponsored by Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-CO); and H.R. 3844, 
the Energy and Minerals Reclamation Foundation Establishment 
Act, introduced by Congressman Jody B. Hice (R-GA).
    H.R. 3843 establishes a Good Samaritan program that 
incentivizes private sector remediation of AML. It directs the 
EPA to create ``Good Samaritan'' permits which provide limited 
liability protections for industry, municipalities and non-
profit groups equipped with the technical expertise to deal 
competently with AML.
    This bill also authorizes the collection of Claim Location 
and Maintenance Fees by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), 
and the establishment of an Inactive and Abandoned Non-Coal 
Mine Land Program, which have previously not been addressed by 
the authorizing committee. BLM's Inactive and Abandoned Non-
Coal Mine Land Program does receive funding through the annual 
appropriations process.

Claim location and maintenance fees

    Claim location and maintenance fees were first instituted 
in the 1993 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations bill 
which amended the 1872 mining law to require an annual 
maintenance fee of $100 per claim ($5/acre) in lieu of the 
assessment work requirement under law. The language included a 
waiver for claim holders of ten or fewer claims if the claim 
owner continued to conduct its annual assessment work and file 
an affidavit with BLM.
    These fees were adjusted per law according to the Consumer 
Price Index for the assessment year beginning September 1, 
2014, from $34-$37 (location) and $140-$155 (maintenance) per 
claim. This adjustment led to the relinquishing of 48,867 
claims, at a cost to the federal government of more than $8.5 
million in revenue. At $7.75 per acre, the United States has 
one of the highest land-holding costs in the world for mineral 
exploration and development.
    A portion of these fees are used by BLM for the Mining Law 
Administration Program. The remainder of the money generated 
through these fees goes to the general fund of the Treasury. 
Separately, States collect royalty or royalty equivalent taxes 
from operating mines and charge additional fees on a per claim 
basis.

Scope of the AML problem

    Today, there are as many as 400,000 abandoned mines across 
the Western states, some of which pose health and safety 
hazards and others that pose environmental risks as exemplified 
by the Gold King Mine spill.
    It is important to note that the vast majority of AML 
features in the West are small prospect pits that do not 
present a health or safety issue or environmental problems. 
These are generally relatively shallow pits only a few feet 
deep. The Midwest and Eastern states also have a serious AML 
problem from historic coal mining activities, including 
significant discharges of acid mine drainage.
    Many of the hardrock mines or workings were operated in the 
1800s and early 1900s prior to the enactment of the Nation's 
environmental and land management laws in the late 1960s and 
1970s that provide the regulatory framework that govern modern 
mining and reclamation practices in the United States. As such, 
hardrock AML sites are defined as those that were abandoned 
before January 1, 1981, the date that BLM's 3809 mining 
regulations required by the Federal Land Policy and Management 
Act of 1976 were finalized.
    Coal operations began even earlier--in 1738 the first 
commercial coal mine near Richmond, Virginia, began 
operations--and have been regulated under a federal statute 
administered by the States since 1977 with the enactment of the 
Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). Coal AML 
sites are those that were abandoned prior to enactment of 
SMCRA.

The need for good samaritans

    Many of the Western States have partnered with industry to 
address problem sites and have remediated, reclaimed or secured 
numerous AML sites. In several instances the cleanup was paid 
for by the hardrock mining industry. In addition, several 
federal agencies have programs for remediation of AML sites 
located on Federal land.
    In 1997, BLM and the U.S. Forest Service began working in 
earnest to address the hardrock AML problem on public lands, 
often in concert with other partners such as States and local 
municipalities. In 2010, BLM initiated an outreach program to 
claim holders to assist in securing physical hazards from 
hardrock AML features located within their claim boundaries.
    While progress has been made in addressing some of the 
problem sites, there are legal barriers to creating a more 
aggressive and substantial program that relies on the expertise 
and resources of the mining industry and other parties acting 
as ``Good Samaritans'' in helping to clean up hardrock AML 
sites.
    The principal legal challenges include the liabilities 
imposed by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, 
Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.) 
and Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et 
seq., also known as the Clean Water Act (CWA)). Under current 
law, a mining company, non-profit organization, government or 
individual acting as a ``Good Samaritan'' to remediate an AML 
site runs the risk of being held liable for historic discharges 
and other existing safety and environmental problems. In H.R. 
3843, the Good Samaritan would be given partial relief from the 
CWA and CERCLA for existing conditions but would be held 
responsible for the work that they perform. EPA would issue a 
permit to the Good Samaritan, authorizing the activity.
    Two States have led the way in demonstrating that limiting 
liability can help to leverage resources and produce more and 
better results in AML cleanups. In 1999, Pennsylvania enacted 
the ``Environmental Good Samaritan Act'' encouraging volunteers 
to improve areas impacted by mineral extraction. To date, 50 
projects have been initiated. South Dakota also developed a 
State-industry partnership program that provides some CERCLA 
liability relief and a streamlined regulatory and 
administrative process. More than 65 AML sites in the Black 
Hills have been remediated and reclaimed.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 3843 was introduced on October 28, 2015, by 
Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO). The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Natural Resources, and additionally to the 
Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure and Energy and 
Commerce. Within the Natural Resources Committee, the bill was 
referred to the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. 
On November 4, 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. Congressman Doug Lamborn offered an amendment 
designated 01; it was adopted by unanimous consent. No further 
amendments were offered and the bill, as amended, 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, August 11, 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. 3843, the 
Locatable Minerals Claim Location and Maintenance Fees Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Jeff LaFave 
and Jon Sperl.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

H.R.. 3843--Locatable Minerals Claim Location and Maintenance Fees Act

    Summary: H.R. 3843 would require holders of certain mining 
claims on federal lands to pay fees to the Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM) to establish and maintain those claims. The 
bill also would authorize appropriations through 2022 to 
administer certain mining laws and to clean up land with 
inactive mines. In addition, the legislation would require BLM 
to transfer funds to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to 
study the effectiveness of certain permitting activities 
conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) related 
to the cleanup of abandoned mines. Finally, the bill would 
authorize the EPA to issue permits for the cleanup of pollution 
at inactive mine sites.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3843 would reduce direct 
spending by $319 million over the 2017-2022 period and increase 
revenues from civil penalties by an insignificant amount; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO also estimates 
that implementing the legislation would cost $261 million over 
the 2017-2021 period and $50 million after 2021, assuming 
appropriation of the authorized and necessary amounts.
    CBO estimates that enacting the legislation would not 
increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of 
the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
    H.R. 3843 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated Cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary effect of H.R. 3843 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and environment).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     2017    2018    2019    2020    2021    2022    2023    2024    2025    2026   2017-2021  2017-2026
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              DECREASES IN DIRECT SPENDING
 
Estimated Budget Authority........................     -52     -53     -53     -53     -53     -53       0       0       0       0       -265       -319
Estimated Outlays.................................     -52     -53     -53     -53     -53     -53       0       0       0       0       -265       -319
 
                                                     INCREASES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Mining Law Administration:
    Authorization Level...........................      40      40      40      40      40      40       0       0       0       0        200        240
    Estimated Outlays.............................      40      40      40      40      40      40       0       0       0       0        200        240
Mine Lands Cleanup:
    Authorization Level...........................      17      17      17      17       0       0       0       0       0       0         68         68
    Estimated Outlays.............................       5      11      15      17      12       6       2       0       0       0         60         68
National Academy of Sciences Study:
    Authorization Level...........................       0       0       0       0       0       2       0       0       0       0          0          2
    Estimated Outlays.............................       0       0       0       0       0       1       1       0       0       0          0          2
Permitting Activities:
    Estimated Authorization Level.................       *       *       *       *       *       0       0       0       0       0          1          1
    Estimated Outlays.............................       *       *       *       *       *       0       0       0       0       0          1          1
    Total Changes:
        Estimated Authorization Level.............      57      57      57      57      40      42       0       0       0       0        269        311
        Estimated Outlays.........................      45      51      55      57      52      47       3       0       0       0        261        311
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Amounts may not sum to totals because of rounding; * = less than $500,000 Enacting the bill would increase revenues by an insignificant amount.

    Basis of Estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
legislation will be enacted in 2016 and that the authorized and 
necessary amounts will be appropriated for each fiscal year. 
Estimated outlays are based on historical spending patterns for 
similar activities.

Direct spending

    Existing laws allow BLM to collect several types of fees 
from those holding mining claims on federal land if the agency 
is authorized to do so in annual appropriations acts. Under 
H.R. 3843 BLM would be authorized to collect most of those fees 
without any subsequent authorization in annual appropriations 
acts. In 2015, those fees totaled about $57 million.
    H.R. 3843 would require BLM to collect three types of fees 
from holders of mining claims: an annual fee to maintain any 
claim that is 20.66 acres or fewer, a one-time fee to locate a 
new claim, and a certification fee for any claimholder who 
meets the criteria to have the maintenance fee waived. The 
agency would be required to charge those fees through 2022. CBO 
estimates that enacting the legislation would increase 
offsetting receipts, which are treated as reductions in direct 
spending, by $319 million over the 2017-2022 period.
    Maintenance Fees. CBO estimates that BLM would collect 
maintenance fees totaling $313 million over the 2017-2022 
period. The bill would require the agency to charge a fee of 
$155 a year to maintain any mining claim that covers 20.66 
acres or fewer. In 2015, when BLM was authorized to collect a 
similar fee and gold was valued at $1,161 per ounce, the agency 
received payments totaling about $50 million from 325,000 such 
claims. CBO expects that the price of gold, will return to its 
10-year inflation-adjusted average price of $1,211 per ounce in 
2019. Based on the historical relationship between the value of 
gold and the number of outstanding mining claims, CBO estimates 
that annual fee collections under H.R. 3843 would total $51 
million in 2017 and $52 million a year over the 2018-2022 
period.
    Location Fees. CBO estimates that BLM would collect 
location fees totaling $5 million over the 2017-2022 period. 
The bill would require the agency to charge a one-time fee of 
$37 for any new mining claim established on federal land, 
including claims larger than 20.66 acres. In 2015, when BLM was 
authorized to collect a similar fee, the agency received 
payments totaling roughly $800,000 for 22,000 new claims. CBO 
estimates that annual fee collections would total around $1 
million a year over the 2017-2022 period.
    Certification Fees. CBO estimates that BLM would collect 
certification fees totaling $1 million over the 2017-2022 
period. The bill would require the agency to charge a fee of 
$30 for any claimholder seeking to have the annual maintenance 
fee waived. Based on information provided by BLM, CBO expects 
that fewer than 8,500 claimholders would request such waivers 
each year, and we estimate that annual fee collections would 
total less than $250,000 each year over the 2017-2022 period.

Revenues

    H.R. 3843 would authorize the EPA to issue permits for the 
cleanup of pollution at inactive and abandoned mine sites. The 
bill also would establish civil penalties for any person who 
violates the conditions of a permit. Based on information from 
the EPA, CBO estimates, that any fines collected under this 
bill would not be significant.

Spending subject to appropriation

    CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3843 would cost $261 
million over the 2017-2021 period and $50 million after 2021, 
assuming appropriation of the authorized and estimated amounts. 
Specifically, the bill would:
     Authorize the appropriation of $40 million a year 
through 2022 to administer certain mining laws, including a 
program to collect fees from holders of mining claims. In 2016, 
BLM received an appropriation of $40 million to carry out those 
activities.
     Authorize the appropriation of $17 million a year 
through 2020 to carry out a program to clean up inactive coal 
mining sites. In 2016, ELM received appropriations totaling $20 
million to carry out similar activities.
     Require BLM to transfer up to $2 million to the 
NAS to study the effectiveness of EPA activities related to 
permitting the cleanup of inactive and abandoned mine sites. 
Under the bill, NAS could not begin the study until five years 
after enactment.
    Finally, the bill would authorize the EPA to issue permits 
for the cleanup of pollution at inactive mine sites throughout 
the United States. Those permits would be issued only to 
people, companies, or agencies with no legal responsibility for 
cleaning up the site. Once granted a permit, the permit holder 
would not be liable for any pollution resulting from the 
remediation efforts at the mine sites under the Clean Water Act 
or the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and 
Liability Act. The bill also would enable state and tribal 
environmental programs to issue the same type of permit to 
private parties if those governments have an EPA-approved 
permit process in place.
    Under H.R. 3843, the EPA would establish regulations for 
the permit process, approve plans for state programs, and 
determine eligibility for permits. Based on information from 
the EPA, CBO expects that states would provide most permits and 
that minimal oversight would be required by the EPA. As a 
result, CBO estimates that implementing title III would cost 
less than $500,000 annually and would total $1 million over the 
2017-2021 period; such spending would be subject to the 
availability of appropriated funds.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go 
Act of 2010 establishes budget-reporting and enforcement 
procedures for legislation affecting direct spending or 
revenues. The net changes in outlays that are subject to those 
pay-as-you-go procedures are shown in the following table.

          CBO ESTIMATE OF PAY-AS-YOU-GO EFFECTS FOR H.R. 3846, AS ORDERED REPORTED BY THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES ON JUNE 15, 2016
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                           -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             2016    2017    2018    2019    2020    2021    2022    2023    2024    2025    2026   2016-2021  2021-2026
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             NET DECREASE (-) IN THE DEFICIT
Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Impact............       0     -52     -53     -53     -53     -53     -53       0       0       0       0       -265       -319
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Increase in long term direct spending and deficits: CBO 
estimates that enacting the legislation would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 3843 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA. The bill would allow state and tribal 
governments to administer permit programs to encourage the 
cleanup of abandoned and inactive mine sites. Any costs that 
state or tribal agencies might incur to administer such permit 
programs would result from voluntary commitments. Under the 
bill, those agencies also would be eligible for federal grants 
to fund cleanup activities.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Jeff LaFave (BLM) and 
Jon Sperl (EPA); Impact on state, local, and tribal 
governments: Jon Sperl; Impact on the private sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate 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 credit 
authority, or an increase or decrease in revenues or tax 
expenditures. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 
enactment of the bill would reduce direct spending by $319M for 
the 2017-2022 period, while costing $261M to implement over the 
same time period, assuming appropriation of the authorized 
amounts.
    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 authorize for a seven-year period 
the collection of claim location and maintenance fees.

                           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

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes to existing 
law.

[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    We oppose H.R. 3843 because it potentially greatly expands 
the rights of mining claimants, limits the growth of the Bureau 
of Land Management's Abandoned Mine Lands program, and contains 
a number of concerning policy issues regarding Good Samaritan 
protections. Fundamentally, while this legislation has grown 
out of the good intention to try to address abandoned hardrock 
mine lands, it rests on the flawed premise that voluntary 
efforts will be enough to meaningfully address a significant 
number of those abandoned mines. Good Samaritan protections, if 
properly structured, are a small step towards solving this 
problem, but a dedicated source of funding provided by the 
hardrock mining industry--as the coal industry has done for 
forty years--is absolutely necessary to truly address the 
roughly half-million abandoned hardrock mines throughout the 
country.
    Section 102(e) of H.R. 3843 appears to provide additional 
rights to claimants above what they currently possess under the 
Mining Law of 1872. Currently, miners only hold a right against 
the government when a valuable mineral deposit is found on 
their claim. When an area is withdrawn from mining, only claims 
where valuable deposits can be validated remain in effect. 
However, the language of 102(e) appears to extend a right 
against the government prior to the discovery of valuable 
mineral deposits, which may eliminate the ability for 
withdrawals to supersede invalid claims, and makes it easier 
for companies to commit claim fraud. Another concern is the 
broad language of ``mineral activities'' in Section 101, which 
appears to allow a variety of non-mining activities to occur on 
and off of mining claims.
    Title II of the bill effectively authorizes the already-
existing BLM Abandoned Mine Lands program, but freezes the 
authorization at current levels through 2020. The current 
authorization is already inadequate for BLM to meaningfully 
address abandoned hardrock lands, and is 15 percent below the 
Administration's requested level. The authorization in the bill 
would need to be raised significantly in order for BLM to have 
a fully-functional program.
    Title III establishes a Good Samaritan permit program that 
would provide liability protection from the Clean Water Act 
(CWA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, 
Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) for third 
parties that wish to remediate an abandoned mine site where 
that party has no legal responsibility or ownership stake in 
the abandoned mine. While we support Good Samaritan legislation 
in concept, getting the details right is essential, and we do 
not believe H.R. 3843 is at that point. The blanket CERCLA and 
CWA waivers in the bill are too broad and instead should be 
limited to actions taken in compliance with the Good Samaritan 
permit. The waiver of the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA) in Section 307 continues the disturbing trend of 
Republicans attempting to weaken or waive NEPA through 
legislation, and should be removed.
    Furthermore, H.R. 3843 allows abandoned mine sites with 
potentially identifiable responsible parties to receive Good 
Samaritan permits. Only sites that are truly abandoned, and for 
which there are no potentially responsible parties, should be 
eligible for such permits. Allowing current mine site owners to 
become Good Samaritans is also potentially problematic because 
of the limited number of safeguards against remining at sites 
with Good Samaritan permits. In addition, H.R. 3843 would 
create a new, stand-alone environmental statute without 
providing the fundamental protections of citizen suit 
provisions. The right of citizens to enforce environmental laws 
through citizen suits is essential to effective enforcement of 
our Nation's environmental laws.

    For these reasons, we oppose H.R. 3843.

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

                                  [all]