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Mr. GIBBONS. What the gentleman is reading from is the opinion of the solicitor which limits it, versus the statute which is on the board. There is no limitation as to the number.

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   The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Washington (Mr. HASTINGS) has expired.

   Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

   I would like the gentleman from Washington (Mr. INSLEE) to put up his chart for me, and then I would like to enter into a colloquy. We can just go through this section.

   Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

   Mr. DICKS. I yield to the gentleman from Washington.

   Mr. INSLEE. First off, this is the law. This is the statute from the United States Annotated Code. This is the law.


[Time: 17:15]

   What the executive branch says in some manual or letter or memorandum or written on the back of an envelope, or they can say it every day until doom's day, but it does not make a difference. This is the law passed by the United States Congress, signed by the President in 1872. Anything else is quite meaningless, frankly.

   What it says, very clearly: ``Where nonmineral land not contiguous to the vein or lode is used or occupied by the proprietor of such vein or lode for mining or milling purposes, such nonadjacent surface ground may be embraced and included in an application for a patent for such vein or lode, and the same may be patented therewith, subject to the same preliminary requirements as to survey and notices as are applicable to the veins or loads; but no location made on and after May 10, 1872, of such nonadjacent land shall exceed five acres.''

   Now, I understand that the argument is, well, they could have 5 acres here, and they can have 5 acres right next to it, and they could have another 5 acres right next to that; they could have 5 acres until they go all the way from Canada to Oregon and the State of Washington.

   Let me suggest to my colleagues, if the Congress in 1872, and we have some very articulate members, Daniel Webster, I cannot remember when he was around in 1872, these are intelligent people. But if they were intending to give the mine everything they wanted, they did not need any limitation.

   Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I want to also quote from Section 2 from (30 U.S.C. 41) subsection (b) where it says again: ``Where nonmineral land is needed by proprietor of a placer claim for mining, milling, processing, benefication, or other operations in connection with such claim,'' and then I will insert at the right time the rest of this. But when we get down to the bottom line it says: ``No location made of such nonmineral land shall exceed five acres and payment for the same shall be made at the rate applicable to placer claims which do not include a vein or lode.''

   So when we get to these two different types of claims, I understand what happened here. In the old days, they would go into the earth to get the minerals and would only need a small area, like 5 acres on top, in order to have a place to bring the minerals out and deal with them. But now with these open-pit mines, all of a sudden they have tremendous amounts of earth that have to be moved and they cannot possibly do it on 5 acres.

   So this limitation is a very serious one for this type of mining. But as I read the law, the law does limit them to 5 acres.

   Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

   Mr. DICKS. I yield to the gentleman from Nevada.

   Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Chairman, it says here clearly, ``each location.'' Every millsite is a location. It is not the totality of it. Every mining claim is a location. So they can have five locations.

   Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, they could have five claims; and for each claim, they could have a 5-acre millsite.

   Mr. GIBBONS. It does not restrict it.

   Mr. DICKS. But they have to have separate claims. They cannot have one claim and a 500-acre millsite unless this special legislation is enacted. That is the only way we can do this.

   Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

   Mr. DICKS. I yield to the gentleman from Washington.

   Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

   I am just going back to what has prompted all of this, and that was the Battle of Mountain Gold. The fact is they had multiple millsites within their claim. That is the distinction and the interpretation.

   Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, but they can only have one claim, 5 acres for a millsite for dumping the waste. That is what the law says.

   Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman will continue to yield, that is the gray area that we are talking about here and that is why probably this issue should probably be taken up in the proper committee.

   Again, I want to reiterate, the reason what prompted all of this was because of one company in my district that had multiple sites and were playing by the rules, as had always been applied, had always been applied, not with an exception, had always been applied; and then the Solicitor General came up with that one opinion, which, of course, changed the whole thing.

   Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I think that the constituent of my colleague may have a great claim in equity, but I am not sure that he has got much of a leg to stand on when we look at the actual underlying statute. It appears that the Department, for many years, had misinterpreted the statute.

   Now, I am still willing to listen to other points of view, but I think we have got to deal with this statute.

   The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Washington (Mr. DICKS) has expired.

   (By unanimous consent, Mr. DICKS was allowed to proceed for 2 additional minutes.)

   Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I think we have to look at this underlying statute. I would love to hear from somebody on the side of my colleagues or have somebody show us where they think the statute says something different than I have just read on the placer claims or on this law under this particular provision.

   We have to have some basis for saying that somewhere it says they can have more than 5 acres of a millsite per claim. And that is what I do not see here in the law.

   Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

   Mr. DICKS. I yield to the gentleman from Washington.

   Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Chairman, I point out to make sure people understand, the problem my friend from Washington has alluded to, the Crown Jewel Mine, has been solved, if we look at it that way, by the previous rider. That is a red herring. That problem has been solved. We are talking about the future, the year 2000 on.

   Just one closing point: if the interpretation placed on this by the industry is correct, there is no reason on this green Earth that the Congress in 1872 would have imposed any language as to any limitation as to any acreage. Because if the Congress wanted to give the industry all it wanted for free, it could have just said so, they can have all they want for free.

   There is no reason for this 5-acre limitation if we mean they can have 5 acres here, 5 acres there, 5 acres everywhere. This ought to be enforced.

   Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

   Mr. DICKS. I yield to the gentleman from Washington.

   Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, one final point. The millsite law, and this has been conceded, it does limit acreage to 5 acres per millsite. But there is no limit on the number of millsites in a claim. That is the distinction.

   Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I think the distinction is, for every claim they get a millsite with 5 acres. That is how I read this. So if they have multiple claims, they get multiple millsites, each of which is 5 acres.

   The problem here I think is that we have got a fewer number of claims than the size of the needed millsite to deal with the waste. So I just think we need to get this clarified.

   I appreciate what the gentleman is suggesting that the Committee on Resources might help us all out by taking this matter up.

   Mr. SHAYS. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

   Mr. Chairman, this is a big deal. This is an important issue. And this land is

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your land, and it is my land. It is Government land that has been extraordinarily abused by a law we all know needs to be reformed. We all know it needs to be reformed. But instead of reforming the law, we are ignoring the law.

   The Lode Act of 1860 which dealt with veins and it contained the 20-acre and the 5-acre millsite limits. The Placer Act of 1866 dealt with mineralized earth. It had 20 acre mining site and 5 acre millsite limits. And it was codified in 1872. We are not objecting to the law. If a mining claim has 100 acres, then a mining claimant has 25 acres they may use as a millsite. That is not our objection.

   In the case of Crown Jewel Mine, Battle Mountain Gold Company, has four patents approved and 11 unpatented claims. They have a total of 15 mining claims, for a total of 300 acres. But they want 117 millsites. They want 585 acres when they are entitled under law to only 75 acres.

   We are seeing mining interests trying to ignore the law, and then we blame the Solicitor General, whose job it is to make sure the law is enforced. That is the law. The Soliciter General is going to make sure it is enforced. It was ignored. The other side may argue we have to amend the law and deal with some legitimate concerns. But we do not ignore the law. And that is what I believe is the attempt of these riders in the Senate Interior Appropriations bill.

   I have a gigantic problem with the fact that this is our land. Mining companies do not pay a dime for it unless they are extracting oil or gas and then they pay a minimal royalty. But hard rock miners do not pay anything for the minerals they extract. They can destroy the land and leave it behind, and we are left to deal with an environmental disaster.

   Some can say, well, why should we care in New England? Because it is our land, it is our country, and we care about it and we want something to happen to deal with this outrage.

   So I wish the committee of jurisdiction would deal with this law, and I wish we would abide by the law that exists today. And that is 20 acres and 5; and if a claimant wants 40, then the claimant gets 10. And if the claimant wants 100, the claimant gets 25. That is the law.

   We can criticize the Solicitor General all we want, but he is saying the law needs to be abided by. I'd like to add that if mining interests do not like the law as it is being interpreted by the Solicitor General, then they can go to court.

   I just hope we can pass this amendment, and then I hope the committee of jurisdiction can deal with this issue as it needs to be dealt with. It is a law that goes back to 1872. It is a law that needs changing. I hope we change it but not ignore it.

   Mr. VENTO. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Rahall-Shays amendment.

   Mr. Chairman, I want to first of all start by commending the subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations for maintaining the 1994 moratorium on the 1872 mining patents.

   I know we have got quite a few that proceeded that date, I think that their efforts here are helpful, I think, in trying to force the Senate, frankly, which has been the problem in terms of reforming the 1872 mining law, to in fact face up to reality and try to deal with the problems that exist concerning this 1872 law, which is badly in need of modification and modernization.

   The fact is that the issue that we have before us today is because of actions on the part of the other body, the Senate, trying to circumvent the clear meaning of what this law is.

   The fact of the matter is that the Department of the Interior and those that are responsible for administrating this law have found a way to try to mitigate some of the damage that is being done by these mining claims and by the millsites that have propped up around them.

   It is not just the millsites. It is the access points, the roads that go in. There is a whole host of environmental problems and concerns that are affecting us with regards to public land. These are public lands, part of the public domain, often being located in maybe a national forest, maybe in terms of range lands which are being used for a variety of other purposes and become very important for recreation, and, of course, for maintenance of various types of wildlife, flora and fauna.

   But the major point I think that needs to be brought out here is that, obviously, mining practices have changed. And the American Mining Congress, the predecessor organization, pointed to this in some of the testimony we have from the Committee on National Resources, and they point out that instead of the 5 acres that typically would have been used for a tailing site near a 20-acre claim or patented claim, today the amount of land is 200 acres typically. It is 10 times the amount of land that is outlined from the configuration of the claim. Today it is 10 times that amount of land that is used because of an industrial site, basically, that is being built alongside of the mine.

   And very often, as we looked at the hard-rock minerals, the cyanide leaching for gold and other types of valuable hard-rock minerals, in fact, are what are causing these serious problems. Now, besides which, of course, I think we could point out that, while we would like to think all of these entities that are making the patented claims and using these mill tailing sites responsibly, it has been estimated that anywhere from 30 to $70 billion's worth of damage in terms of restoration because of the toxic and other problems associated with cleanup have been abandoned on the Federal lands, on these lands.

   So not only does the taxpayer lose the initial impact, and when my friend said that they do not get a dime for these lands, he is almost right. I think we get about $2.50 to $5 an acre for these lands. But of course, the minerals that are extracted from them may actually be minerals that are into the hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars of value.

   So I would urge my colleagues to support this amendment. It does not go far enough. Frankly, on the appropriations bill we cannot reform and modify greatly the 1872 law. But what we can do is to send a signal and to arm our appropriators with an amendment that will in fact try to stop the type of raid that is going, on the type of riders, as it were, that are being put on often in the Senate and sometimes in the House when there is not consensus, where this is, in essence, trying to undo and unglue the existing precepts of the actual 1872 law, a weak law, a law that needs to be modified, that needs to be modernized, that the Senate refused to deal with. When we repeatedly sent language on various bills to them to deal with this, they have refused to do so.


[Time: 17:30]

   I commend the subcommittee for maintaining the 1994 moratorium, but we have to deal with this issue because we are being challenged to do so by the actions of the body and by the work of the administration. They have done good work on this. We should leave the tool in their hand to limit the millsites. We ought to force the Senate to deal with modernizing this law, support the Rahall-Shays amendment, and I think we will have done a good deed both for the taxpayers and for the natural resources that are the legacy of all Americans, not just to benefit the special interests.

   Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

   Mr. Chairman, I had intended to stay out of this debate but it has dragged on and I feel it merits some additional points be made.

   I serve on the authorizing committee. I authored a number of amendments the last time we tried to modernize and amend the 1872 mining law. This is an antiquated law which begs for change. In fact I think the committee, even though they are attempting to basically erode some provisions of the law here, recognizes that by continuing the moratorium on patents.

   Let us just understand what is ultimately at stake here. It is the ability of someone operating a mine for which if they have patented it they pay the government, and the taxpayers, $2.50 an acre. No royalties, no other fees are involved. $2.50 an acre. Many times these mines can return tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars on a relatively small number of acres. It is a very, very lucrative enterprise.

   Now, enter heap leach mining. It requires a lot more Federal land, a lot greater number of acres to extract a

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small amount of gold through the process of heaping up the land and dosing it with cyanide.

   Now, they say because we are having to extract from many, many more acres of land, which we paid $2.50 an acre for and make bigger and bigger piles, we need more places to process the ore and more acres of public land, for which they will pay $2.50 an acre if they patent it.

   Now, I just want to relate this to the debate we are going to have in a few moments over the issue of recreation fees and since the gentleman from Massachusetts did not bring Grandma, who he often brings up in these issues, into this, I want to bring Grandma in. He always talk about Grandma and the kids going out to the forest and doing this and doing that.

   Let us just envision Grandma today. She drives up to the national forest, she drives her car to the end of the road and wants to take the grandkids for a little hike to see the wildflowers. Guess what? There is a little metal box there that says you have got to pay $3 to park your car. And she does. Her car occupies maybe 200 square feet. She has got to pay three bucks to park the car. The mining company wants to park wastes forever for $2.50 an acre.

   Now, Grannie would be better off if she filed a claim and got a patent and paid $2.50 for an acre, she could open a parking lot and other people could park there, she could charge them a buck and a half, they would save a buck and a half, and everybody would come out ahead.

   This is absurd. Because we are not asking people to pay their fair share, we are now sticking it to the little guy, and the fair share is an industry that makes hundreds of millions, billions of dollars a year, many of them foreign-owned and operated, operating on lands in the western United States, paying not a penny in royalties to the Federal Government and getting the land for $2.50 an acre.

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