Category: Mining

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Draft Of Model Silica Sand Mining Regulations Released By Minnesota Environmental Quality Board

Update: The Minnesota Environmental Quality Board extended the public comment period for the draft model guidelines by two weeks.  The deadline for public comments is now January 27. On December 13, the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (EQB) – in collaboration with several other state agencies, including the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Minnesota Pollution … Continue Reading

Proposed Sage-Grouse Protections May Impact Mining Along the California-Nevada Border

Via my colleagues Barbara Craig, Ryan Steen and Sarah Stauffer Curtiss: On October 28, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) proposed to list the Bi-State distinct population segment (“Bi-State DPS”) of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) and to designate critical habitat for the Bi-State … Continue Reading

Leniency for California Miners — And a Call for “Top to Bottom” Reform of California Surface Mining Law

California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 447 on Saturday, September 28, 2013, which modifies the Office of Mine Reclamation’s (OMR) authority to list or delist a mine from its list of “good mines” under Cal. Public Resources Code Section 2717 (more commonly referred to as the AB 3098 List).  Mines on the AB 3098 List … Continue Reading

Oregon Mining Operations Benefit from New Sage Grouse Habitat Law

Over 40 percent of the lands in Malheur County have been designated as core habitat for sage grouse by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (“ODFW”). Other counties in southeastern Oregon are also heavily affected. ODFW’s approach was to simply recommend against any development in core habitat, without consideration whether off-site mitigation could result … Continue Reading

Please Note: BLM Oregon/Washington State Office Has Relocated

Readers please note that the Oregon/Washington State Office of the Bureau of Land Management has relocated, effective today. The new address is the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building at 1220 SW 3rd Avenue, Portland, OR  97204. The mailing address and telephone number remain the same: P.O. Box 2965, Portland, OR  97208 and (503) 808-6001 (press 2). For … Continue Reading

BLM California State Office Cancels Statutorily-Required Oil & Gas Lease Auctions for 2013

The third Bureau of Land Management auction of oil and gas sales scheduled for the 2013 fiscal year should have been held today for federal lands in California. However, last month the BLM California office issued a short notice stating that it would cancel remaining 2013 oil and gas lease sales planned for May, June, … Continue Reading

Construction Aggregate Shortage Continues in California

On March 1st, the California Geological Survey (CGS) released information forecasting a continuing shortage of permitted aggregate resources (sand, gravel and crushed stone) in California.  According to CGS’s Map Sheet 52 and accompanying report, California only has permitted resources to meet approximately one-third of aggregate demand over the next 50 years.  Aggregate is essential for … Continue Reading

Update: One Step Closer to a Better Permitting Process

Following a recent post (link), I wanted to provide you with an update regarding H.R. 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012. On May 16, 2012, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed the bill, offered by Rep. Amodei (R-Nev.), where it received strong support in the committee. The bill now … Continue Reading

Sequoia ForestKeeper v. Tidwell Subjects Mineral Exploration Within National Forests to Additional Process and Delay

Last week a federal district court in California issued a nationwide injunction that may have significant impacts on exploration activities within National Forests.  For years activities that were categorically excluded from review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) were also exempt from U.S. Forest Service regulations concerning public notice, comment, and administrative appeals (36 … Continue Reading

New PricewaterhouseCoopers Study Shows Importance of Minerals Mining to Economic Growth in Numerous Key Industries

One of the few sectors that consistently added jobs in 2011 was U.S. minerals mining. Today, this industry supports 1.1 million American jobs nationwide and has enabled modern products such as aircrafts, medical equipment and state-of-the-art electronics to come to fruition. Some of the fastest growing industries in America—including high tech, automotive manufacturing and renewable … Continue Reading

Administration’s Proposed Mining Tax Threatens Health of U.S. Minerals Mining

As the stalled economy pushes Washington closer to a decision on how to manage America’s wealth of mineral resources, two paths have emerged. One offers the possibility of increased domestic minerals production and the potential for long-term growth. Through legislation that would assess America’s mineral needs, we can maximize opportunities in mining, one of the … Continue Reading

Additional Details On The Removal Of Elena Miller And Derek Chernow

Here is more information on Governor Brown’s removal of Elena Miller as the head of California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR).  Derek Chernow, the head of California’s Department of Conservation was also removed.  In addition to supervising DOGGR, Chernow supervised California’s State Mining and Geology Board and the Office of Mine Reclamation.  As discussed … Continue Reading

Off Or On? Intrepeting The Requirements of AB 3098

I provided the following paper at the recent CalCIMA conference in Monterey, California. Overview The Office of Mine Reclamation’s (OMR) decision to list or delist a mine from its list of “good mines” maintained under Public Resources Code Section 2717 (the AB 3098 list) effectively precludes a mine from selling to public agencies, critical  customers … Continue Reading

CalCIMA Education Conference

Join Stoel Rives Partners Michael Mills and Tom Henry for the CalCIMA Education Conference.  Stoel Rives is a proud sponsor of this event.  California leads the nation in construction aggregate production.  The California Construction and Industrial Materials Association is a non-profit organization that brings together aggregate, industrial mineral, and ready mixed concrete producers to provide … Continue Reading

CEQA, Mining and Vested Rights. Looking Back on the California Supreme Court’s Decision in Communities for a Better Environment v. South Coast Air Quality Management District.

One year ago the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Communities for a Better Environment v. South Coast Air Quality Management District (2010) 48 Cal. 4th 310.   Since our blog wasn’t up at the time I thought it would be a good idea to look back on that decision and how it impacts mine … Continue Reading

Now Is The Time For Increased Due Diligence Scrutiny – Focus on Permits

As the economy continues to struggle, we see more consolidation in the aggregate industry.  Deals that seems like a bargain, may include significant problems and liabilities.  It is more important than ever to know what you are getting when acquiring existing operations.  An acquiring company should not assume that all permits are in order simply … Continue Reading

Small Steps in the Right Direction – Two New Laws Aim to Start Fixing Problems with CEQA

On September 30, 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law two bills, AB 231 and SB 1456, both of which took effect immediately as urgency statutes. Both laws address two significant burdens that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) places on the mining industry: the complex CEQA review process and the abuses of CEQA through … Continue Reading

Mining Landlord/Tenant Disputes

Mining operations are often conducted on leased lands.  As with any lease, disputes may come up between the landowner/lessor and the mining company/tenant.   Over the last few years I’ve dealt with multiple situations in which the landowner either made, or threatened to make, complaints about the mining operation to regulatory agencies.  In some situations the … Continue Reading
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