Forest Service seeking comment on revision to mining regulation

The Forest Service is proposing to revise the 36 CFR 228 Subpart A regulations governing locatable mineral activities on the National Forests. The proposed rule would revise the regulations for locatable minerals operations conducted on National Forest System lands.

The revised rule would apply to prospecting, exploration, development, mining and processing operations, and reclamation under the mining Law of May 10, 1872, as amended.

The original regulations were promulgated in 1974 and were based on the Forest Service authority in the 1897 Organic Act. Since 1974 several inefficiencies and problems in these regulations have become apparent and field managers have asked that the regulations be revised and updated. The revisions will follow recommendations and suggestions made by field personnel, the National Academy of Science, the mining industry, conservation groups, interested individuals and the current administration.

The proposed revision includes a new bonded notice category that streamlines the processing, approval and administration of short-term, low-impact activities.

Other revisions would make it easier to adjust and update reclamation bonds. The proposed rule would also improve the process for modifying and suspending plans of operation.

The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on March 25 and public comments must be received by May 27.

The Department will consider these comments and finalize the proposed rule.

Send written comments to Forest Service, USDA, Attn: Director, Minerals and Geology Management Staff, (2810), Mail Stop 1126, Washington, DC, 20250-1125; by electronic mail to 36cfr228a@fs.fed.us; by fax to 703-605-1575; or by the electronic process available at Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov.

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