Description: TO PASS S. 391, THE FEDERAL COAL LEASING AMENDMENTS OF 1975.
Bill summary: (Measure passed House, amended, in lieu of
Federal Coal Leasing Amendments Act - Authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to divide any lands, subject to the Mineral Lands Leasing Act, which have been classified for coal leasing tracts of such size as he finds appropriate and in the public interest and which can be economically extracted in such tract and thereafter he shall, in his discretion, upon the request of any qualified applicant or on his own motion, from time to time offer
such lands for leasing and shall award leases thereon by competitive bidding. Requires that not less than 50 percent of the total acreage offered for lease by the Secretary in any one year shall be leased under a system of deferred bonus payment.
Requires a reasonable number of leasing tracts to be reserved and offered for lease to public bodies, including Federal agencies and rural electric cooperatives.
Provides that any lease which permits surface coal mining within the boundaries of a National Forest which the Secretary proposes to issue under this Act shall be submitted to the Governor of each State within which the coal deposits subject to such lease are located; and that if any Governor objects to the issuance of such lease, such lease shall not be issued before the expiration of the six-month period beginning on the date the Secretary is notified by the Governor of such objection. Provides that during such six-month period, the Governor may submit to the Secretary a statement of reasons why such lease should not be issued and the Secretary shall, on the basis of such statement, reconsider the issuance of such lease.
Forbids the Secretary to issue a lease or leases under the terms of this Act to any person, association, corporation, or any subsidiary, affiliate, or persons controlled by or under common control with such person, association, or corporation, where any such entity holds a lease or leases issued by the United States to coal deposits and has held such lease or leases for a period of 10 years when such entity is not producing coal from the lease deposits in commercial quantities.
Prohibits any lease sale from being held unless the lands containing the coal deposits have been included in a comprehensive land-use plan and such sale is compatible with such plan.
States that in preparing such land-use plans, the Secretary of the Interior or, in the case of lands within the National Forest System, the Secretary of Agriculture, or the responsible State entity shall consult with appropriate State agencies and local governments and the general public and shall provide an opportunity for public hearing on proposed plans prior to their adoption, if requested by any person having an interest which is, or may be, adversely affected by the adoption of such plans.
Requires that prior to issuance of any coal lease: (1) the Secretary shall consider effects which mining of the proposed lease might have on an impacted community or area; and (2) the Secretary shall evaluate and compare the effects of recovering coal by deep mining, by surface mining, and by any other method to determine which method or methods or sequence of methods achieves the maximum economic recovery of the coal within the proposed leasing tract.
States that no mining operation plan shall be approved which is not found to achieve the maximum economic recovery of the coal within the tract.
Requires each coal lease to contain provisions requiring compliance with the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and the Clean Air Act.
Permits the Secretary to issue to any person an exploration license. States that no person may conduct coal exploration for commercial purposes for any coal on lands subject to such Act without such an exploration license.
States that an exploration licensee may not cause substantial disturbance to the natural land surface.
Requires such licensees to furnish to the Secretary copies of all data (including, but not limited to, geological, geophysical, and core drilling analyses) obtained during such exploration.
Permits the Secretary, upon determining that maximum economic recovery of the coal deposit or deposits is served thereby, to approve the consolidation of coal leases into a logical mining unit.
Provides that after the Secretary has approved the establishment of a logical mining unit, any mining plan approved for that unit must require such diligent development, operation, and production that the reserves of the entire unit will be mined with a period established by the Secretary which shall not be more than 40 years.
Provides that a coal lease shall be for a term of 20 years and for so long thereafter as coal is produced annually in commercial quantities from that lease. Requires any lease which is not producing in commercial quantities at the end of 10 years to be terminated.
States that a lease shall require payment of a royalty in such amount as the Secretary shall determine of not less than 12 1/2 percent of the value of coal as defined by regulation, except the Secretary may determine a lesser amount in the case of coal recovered by underground mining operations.
Authorizes the Secretary to conduct a comprehensive exploratory program designed to obtain sufficient data and information to evaluate the extent, location, and potential for developing the known recoverable coal resources within the coal lands subject to such Act.
States that, within six months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall develop and transmit to Congress an implementation plan for the coal lands exploration program authorized by this Act, including procedures for making the data and information available to the public.
Provides that, within six months after the end of each fiscal year, the Secretary shall submit to the Congress a report on the leasing and production of coal lands subject to this Act during such fiscal year. Requires such report to contain a report by the Attorney General of the United States on competition in the coal and energy industries, including an analysis of whether the antitrust provisions of this Act and the antitrust laws are effective in preserving or promoting competition in the coal or energy industry.
Requires that the percentage of revenues from mineral leasing going to States be increased from 37.5 percent to 50 percent, and directs that such increase be used for developing public facilities in areas adversely impacted by mining.
Requires that such funds now held or to be released by the States of Utah and Colorado from oil shale test leases be similarly used.
Places an acreage limitation on persons holding coal leases.
Provides that coal or lignite under acquired lands set apart for military or naval purposes may be leased by the Secretary, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Defense, to a governmental entity which produces electrical energy for sale to the public if such governmental entity is located in the State in which such lands are located.
Permits modifications of an original lease size subject to notification of the Attorney General.
States that nothing in this Act, or the Mineral Lands Leasing Act and the Mineral Leasing Act for Acquired Lands which are amended by this Act, shall be construed as authorizing coal mining on any area of the National Park System, the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Wilderness Preservation System, the National System of Trails, and the Wild and Scenic Rivers System, including rivers designated for study under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
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Bill titles: An Act to amend the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, and for other purposes.; A bill to amend the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920.
Original source documents: Digest of the Congressional Record vol. 121-125, p. S14573;
Links for more info on the vote: congress.gov