Category: State Specific Mining Issues

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The Battle Over the Alaska Oil and Gas Production Tax Credit

Alaska’s oil and gas production tax has been subject to continuing debate and change as lawmakers and policymakers struggle with balancing budgets in times of volatile oil prices while also encouraging the investment necessary to monetize the state’s resources to run its government, create jobs, build and maintain infrastructure, and promote economic activity. In my … Continue Reading

Oil Transportation and Suction Dredge Mining Legislative Topics in Washington Too

Following up on last week’s post about Oregon legislative proposals, here are some of the mineral-related bills currently pending in the Washington State Legislature: Oil and Gas SB 5462 and HB 1611 – These two almost identical bills are follow-ups to the Oil Transportation Safety Act that was enacted in Washington two years ago. Among other … Continue Reading

Mineral-Related Bills Pending Before Oregon Legislature

The Oregon Legislature’s 2017 session officially kicked off last week. A variety of mineral-related bills have been introduced.  Here are some of the ones to follow: Mining SB 3 – SB 3 is primarily focused on suction dredge mining.  It would build on the 2013 enactment of a moratorium, currently in effect until 2021, on … Continue Reading

Why California’s New Groundwater Management Law is a Game Changer for Mine Operators

Ready or not, California’s new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”) is here and mine operators should be vigilant in monitoring and actively participating in developments under the law. Previously, the use of groundwater was largely unregulated.  Now local agencies are in the driver’s seat when it comes to addressing a very complex problem: managing groundwater … Continue Reading

Alaska Department of Natural Resources Seeks Input on Mining Regulations – Comments Due 4/29/16

The Alaska DNR is requesting public comments on its mining regulations for establishing and maintaining mining claims – 11 AAC Chapter 86. These regulations (as well as related regulations at 11 AAC 82 and 11 AAC 88) establish or address many of the requirements for locating claims on state lands, performing assessment work, paying rent, filing production … Continue Reading

Utah Congressmen Unveil Landmark Public Land Bill

On January 20, Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz unveiled a “discussion draft” of the Utah Public Lands Initiative Act. The proposed bill undertakes the difficult task of balancing economic development and conservation on public land in the State of Utah. Congressmen Bishop and Chaffetz began working together on the bill in February 2013. Since … Continue Reading

North Dakota And Others Look To Challenge New Federal Fracking Regulations

Less than one week after the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its Final Rule governing hydraulic fracturing practices on federal lands, North Dakota will proceed to explore the state’s legal options for challenging the new regulations.  At their March 24 meeting, the members of the North Dakota Industrial Commission—comprised of Governor Jack Dalrymple, Attorney … Continue Reading

New State Oil-By-Rail Regulations Take Effect, While Rail Capacity Is Squeezed

As we reported earlier, consideration of proposed federal rulemaking concerning crude oil-by-rail transportation recommended by the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration is underway, and, after receiving more than 3,000 submissions, the comment period closed on September 30.  Nevertheless, and despite the possibility of preemption challenges in litigation, state governments in … Continue Reading

With Increased Federal Scrutiny, State Governments Look To Expand Oil-By-Rail Oversight

With the federal Department of Transportation’s recent emergency order impacting those who transport crude oil by rail, state governments are likewise considering additional regulatory oversight that could affect the industry in the wake of recent train derailments such as the one yesterday in Virginia. In Minnesota, where more than 800 tank cars carrying oil from … Continue Reading

Construction Aggregate Production Rebounds in California; Gold Production Declines

On April 29th, the California Geological Survey (CGS) released production data from 2012 indicating that the production of construction aggregate (sand, gravel and crushed stone) increased for the first time since 2007 in California.  Construction aggregate production increased by 7.3 percent to 121.3 million tons (valued at $1.162 billion).  Portland cement production also increased by … Continue Reading

Minnesota Environmental Quality Board Approves Model Standards For Local Silica Sand Mining Regulations

On March 19, the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (EQB) approved its proposed model standards for local silica sand mining regulations and planning.  The standards are intended to serve as guidelines for city and county governments as they work to develop their own local ordinances for mining, processing, and transporting silica sand.  The Minnesota Legislature mandated … Continue Reading

Industry Task Force Makes Proposals To Increase Natural Gas Capture In North Dakota

In late-January, the North Dakota Petroleum Council’s task force on natural gas flaring released its much-anticipated recommendations to the North Dakota Industrial Commission, the administrative body that regulates oil and gas wells in the state.  The task force made several proposals with the aim to increase the amount of natural gas captured at wellheads, including … Continue Reading

The Latest DIRT in California: Additional Mandatory Reporting for Excavators, Operators and Contractors?

Those that “dig in the dirt” are very familiar with the Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT), which was launched in 2003 by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA). Over the years California has enacted several statutes requiring anyone moving dirt to notify a regional notification center of the area of planned disturbance that may impact a subsurface … Continue Reading

Transportation Safety Issues Fueling Pipeline Proposals In North Dakota And Minnesota

Following the derailment and explosion of a train carrying crude oil near Casselton, North Dakota, and a federal Department of Transportation safety alert that Bakken crude may be more prone to ignite at lower temperatures than other crudes, there’s renewed interest in finding secure transportation alternatives for those natural resources.  Pipelines are one alternative gaining … Continue Reading

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

Alaska Legislature Lowers Oil and Gas Production Taxes, Amends Incentives

Senate Bill 21, which was recently signed into law, significantly alters Alaska’s Oil and Gas Production Tax regime. Although discussions regarding this law have largely been focused on North Slope activity, other areas of the state are also affected. To understand the relevance of the amendments, it is useful to have a basic understanding of … Continue Reading
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