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Update on U.S. Mining Law and Legislation

Clayton J. Parr, Steven P. Quarles, Land and Permitting (1994)

On November 18, 1993, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 322 entitled the Mineral Development Act of 1993. On May 25, 1993, the Senate passed S. 775, entitled the Hardrock Mining Reform Act of 1993, a pared down bill which was adopted without debate, as a vehicle for getting the matter to a Senate/House conference committee for resolution. It is expected that the conference committee will convene shortly after Congress goes back into session late in January. The differences between the House bill and the Senate bill are so substantial that the ultimate product cannot be predicted. There is also a possibility of an impasse.

Because of the extensive commentary and debate on H.R. 322 and its predecessors, it serves at least to highlight the major issues that will be considered. This outline provides some background information on the final evolution of H.R. 322, summarizes its major provisions, and discusses some of the most significant issues that it presents as the legislation goes into conference.

Background

The original version of H.R. 322 was prepared and introduced by Congressman Nick J. Rahall. It was a modified version of H.R. 988, which was approved by the House Interior Committee in the last session of Congress.

Congressman Richard Lehman became the Chair of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, which had initial juri