Category: State Specific Mining Issues

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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

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

Proposed Alaska Oil and Gas Production Tax Bill Would Reduce Tax Rates, Alter Credits

On January 16, 2013, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell introduced proposed legislation that would significantly alter Alaska’s Oil and Gas Production Tax regime. The current law, known as Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share Act (“ACES”), was enacted in 2007 and is located in Alaska Statutes 43.55.011 et seq. This tax is levied on the net profits … Continue Reading

Alaska Gets Into the Fracking Regulation Game

On December 20, the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) released proposed regulations governing hydraulic fracturing. The regulations would require AOGCC approval to conduct fracking activities. For comparison, California recently released a “discussion draft” of potential regulations which would impose certain requirements on fracking operations but would not require additional approval (see California Environmental … Continue Reading
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