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Title: Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act
Vote Smart's Synopsis:
Vote to pass a bill that establishes royalty payments and requires permits for mineral mining operations and imposes penalties for environmental protection violations.
- Prohibits patents from being issued for mining claims or millsites after the passage of this act, unless the application was filed before September 30, 1994 (Sec. 101).
- Requires royalty payments of 8% of gross income from mining a claim on Federal land, or 4% of claims on Federal land that existed prior to the passage of this act (Sec. 102).
- Requires an additional $50 fee for every mining claim, millsite, or tunnel site located before September 30, 1998 or after the passage of this act (Sec. 103).
- Prohibits certain areas from being open to the location of mining claims, including wilderness study areas, areas of critical environmental concern, areas included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and any area included in maps made for the Forest Service Roadless Area Conservation Final Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 2 (Sec. 201).
- Allows states or Indian tribes to petition the Secretary of the Interior to withdraw tracts of Federal land from the operation of mining laws in order to protect values such as watersheds that supply drinking water, wildlife habitat, cultural or historic resources, or scenic vistas important to the local economy (Sec. 202).
- Requires a 20-year operations permit from the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture before mining is allowed on Federal land that may disturb surface resources such as land, air, ground water, surface water, fish, or wildlife (Secs. 302-304).
- Requires operators of permits to provide financial assurance to cover the cost of restoration and reclamation of lands within the permit area and all water that may require treatment or other management of environmental hazards (Sec. 306).
- Allows the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to determine regulations for mineral activity operations and reclamations, addressing issues such as the protection and replacement of topsoil; stability of surface areas; prevention of erosion; minimization of acidic, alkaline, or metal-bearing liquid drainage; removal of structures and roads; and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat (Sec. 307).
- Establishes the Locatable Minerals Fund within the Treasury of the United States, to include a Hardrock Reclamation Account for the restoration of land and water resources affected by past mineral activities (Secs. 401, 411).
- Allows the Secretary of the Interior or Secretary of Agriculture to halt mineral activities if the claim holder is in violation of environmental protection requirements and does not take steps to remedy the violation within 30 days, and to issue penalties of up to $25,000 per violation, plus $1,000 per violation for each day the violation has not been corrected (Sec. 506).
- Sets the amount of the fine for operating mineral activities without a permit at $5,000 to $50,000 per day of violation or imprisonment up to three years for the first conviction, and a fine over $10,000 per day or up to six years imprisonment for any additional convictions (Sec. 506).