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Current Governmental Trends in Public Land Management, Environmental Controls and Taxation As They Affect Mining Economics

George B. Munroe, Proceedings of 14th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1968)

The past four years have witnessed a significant increase in governmental activity, through legislation and administration, affecting the domestic mining industry. Almost without exception that activity has been restrictive in nature, and the Federal Government has made clear an intent to expand its role in the industry still further. Restrictions on the mining use of public lands, environmental controls, and proposed tax changes constitute the major of these new moves (although there have been others), and I will restrict my comments to them. The Classification and Multiple Use Act of 1964, the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Water Quality Act of 1965 and the Air Quality Act of 1967 are all new laws with special significance to the mining industry.1 Additional [2] legislation and regulations recently proposed include Senate Bill 3132, to provide surface mine reclamation controls; proposed regulations of the Department of the Interior relating to reclamation requirements on leased public or Indian lands; proposed legislation to create a National Wild and Scenic River System, containing various restrictions on or prohibitions of mining; Senate Bill 2934, which would provide for a 5 percent severance tax on gross income from the property of all domestic mining properties; and many more.2 A trend toward an increased governmental role in domestic mining activity is clearly indicated.