SENATE FLOOR SECOND READING MARCH 5; THIRD READING MARCH 6
This bill will establish and modify fees and requirements for permits for mineral exploration, mining operations, exclusion certificates, gas and oil drilling and exploration, and geothermal well drilling operation. Limits number and distribution of onshore exploration sites and oil, gas, and geothermal wells.
Personal Choice and Responsibility
This bill goes against the Presidential Determination Pursuant to Section 303 of the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended, declaring rare earth metals is essential for national defense and it allows for mining so the US isn’t dependent on China for defense.
Raises Geology and Mineral Industries fees from 12.5% to 42% and authorizes rulemaking. Increases drill permits up to 400% and renewal fees up to 550%. Adds a seismic program permit for $2,000, which seems to defeat the need for seismic information if that’s the only purpose of the drill.
The rewrite reflects this legislature. It changes positive language into a negative approach. A person may not engage in onshore exploration that disturbs more than one surface acre or involves drilling to greater than 50 feet except in compliance with a permit issued by the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries by rule to assess the impacts of the proposed exploration. Each permit application may include a single contiguous exploration boundary that no more than 640 acres and no more than five holes.
Mining businesses are being targeted for large fee increases that could drive the smaller ones out of business.