Please Note: BLM Links may not currently work. The BLM is re-building their websites and there are some minor problems to be worked out. When the websites are working the ALAA Links will also be updated to the new website information.
Secretary Zinke has requested public comments on any and all DOI regulations. This is a fantastic opportunity for the public to speak up about any regulation in any DOI division. Just follow the link, click on the comment now button next to the department that oversees the regulation you are commenting on and and make your comments. Link to Department of the Interior (DOI)
U.S. Supreme Court Rules ESA Critical Habitat Must be Actual Listed Species Habitat.......
In a big departure from previous interpretation of the federal
Endangered Species Act, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that
critical habitat designated for a threatened or endangered species must
be actual habitat for that species, not simply adjacent habitat or areas
that may be suitable for habitat.
Currently, critical habitat may include areas that are not occupied
by a listed species, but may be designated if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service determines the areas are “essential for conservation of the
species.” The ruling not only limits the Service’s ability to designate
critical habitat in the future, but also opens up challenges to past
designations that have economic impacts on the regulated community.The
ruling can be viewed on the Court’s website here.
Interior Releases 2018’s Final List of 35 Minerals Deemed Critical to U.S. National Security and the Economy
The Department of the Interior published a list of 35 mineral commodities considered critical to the economic and national security of the United States. This list will be the initial focus of a multi-agency strategy due in August this year to implement President Donald J. Trump's Executive Order to break America's dependence on foreign minerals. Read the News Release...... (USGS news release)
H.R. 622: Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act
This Bill could have an impact on Recreational Rockhounding on Public Lands.....
This bill declares that, by September 30, 2017, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) shall terminate the Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations unit and cease using Forest Service employees to perform law enforcement functions on federal lands.
Also by such date, the Department of the Interior shall terminate the Bureau of Land Management Office of Law Enforcement and cease using Interior employees to perform law enforcement functions on federal lands.
Interior shall make a grant to each state to permit the state to maintain law and order on federal land, protect individuals and property on federal lands, and enforce federal law.
Any state or local government receiving the grant or subgrant shall enter into an agreement with Interior or USDA, as appropriate, to address the maintenance of law and order and the protection of individuals and property on federal land.
In any such agreement, Interior or USDA must waive all civil claims against the state or local government and indemnify that government and save it harmless from all claims by third parties for property damage or personal injury that may arise out of law enforcement functions performed under the agreement.
A state or local law enforcement officer performing law enforcement functions pursuant to such an agreement shall not generally be deemed a federal employee with respect to hours of work, compensation rates, leave, unemployment compensation, and federal benefits, among other things.
The Mining Law allows for the enactment of state laws governing location and recording to mining claims and sites that are consistent with Federal law. The Federal regulations implementing the Mining Law, including fee schedules, are found at Title 43 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in Groups 3700 and 3800.
For those of you who live east of the Rockies and don't think you have concerns about using Forests to either collect in or go through to get to your collecting sites....think again. These forests are writing or have already written Travel Plans for each of them and the closure of roads throughout is stunning. And this only covers U.S. Forests, we are NOT talking about state forests which is a whole different problem. And don't forget all the states that have seashores....this is becoming another problem on what you can pick up on the beaches of each state.
Stay informed and let us know if there are problems....we can't police all areas, you as ALAA members need to get involved.
Shirley Leeson, President ALAA
The following PDF files contain the Forests by State which are creating or revising their Forest Travel Management Plans (TMP). Click on the Forest to read the TMP
S.33 - Improved National Monument Designation Process Act - A bill to provide for congressional approval of national monuments and restrictions on the use of national monuments, to establish requirements for the declaration of marine national monuments, and for other purposes.
H.R. 1489: - MAST Act - To amend title 54, United States Code, to provide for congressional approval of national monuments and restrictions on the use of national monuments, to establish requirements for declaration of marine national monuments, and for other purposes.
Our Friends at Americans for Responsible Recreational Access (ARRA) have put together another quiz. While their first quiz was intended to be a quick fun diversion that could be shared with friends, the quiz below is designed to allow you to test your knowledge of the National Monument designation process.
The Antiquities Act of 1906 grants the President unilateral authority to designate areas of public lands as National Monuments. While it seems clear that the original intent of the law was to provide Presidents with the ability to designate specific landmarks or objects, plus as small a portion of surrounding land as practicable, several Presidents have used the authority to designate large areas. It is almost certain that OHV use will be restricted in any area designated as a National Monument as anti-access proponents view monument designations as a way to functionally manage an area as wilderness without going through the formal wilderness designation process. Last session a leaked Department of Interior memo outlined the Obama Administration’s consideration of designating up to 13 million acres of public lands in 11 western states as National Monuments. As a result numerous bills have been introduced to restrict National Monument designations. Wyoming was previously exempted from the Antiquities Act by statute.
HR 4089 has passed the House and is now waiting for a vote in the Senate
An Observation... There is no mention of Rockhounding as a Recreational Activity in either of the two above Bills. If Rockhounds do not speak up and get involved in the Legislation and Land Management Processes, they to will certainly go the way of the dinosauer, the California Grissley Bear and Open Public Lands.
State-by-State InfoAccess Issues, Public Meetings, Contact Information. all this and details about the National Forests in your state on ARRA's comprehensive state pages.
An agreement proposed by attorneys on both sides of a federal lawsuit involving mineral rights on the Allegheny National Forest would throw out a settlement agreement between the U.S. Forest Service and a group of environmentalists, and resolve most of the suit in favor of the oil interests. Read More: Mineral Rights also affect Rockhounds.
LACK OF SUITABILITY AS WILDERNESS The agencies (BLM & USFS) have identified many reasons why these lands are unsuitable for Wilderness including but not limited to:
Lack of Wilderness Qualities
Military Over flights
Existing Mining Claims within the area
Adjacent to existing communities
Difficulty in signing and patrolling
Difficulty in fencing
Existing historical motorized use
"Hardrock mining reform a tough sell despite activist outcry" (Greenwire at The New York Times, 3/16/11) "Efforts ... to overhaul federal oversight of the hardrock mining industry may fall short despite bipartisan agreement that some reforms are overdue. The president's budget blueprint would enact a new fee on hardrock mineral production to help pay for reclamation of abandoned hardrock mines" and set royalties for companies mining materials such as gold, copper, lead and uranium." The 1872 General Mining Act "allows hardrock mining companies to take minerals without paying royalties to the government." Read More
The federal law governing locatable minerals is the General Mining Act of 1872 and was approved on May 10, 1872. This law declared all valuable mineral deposits in land belonging to the United States to be free and open to exploration and purchase. This law provides citizens of the United States the opportunity to explore for, discover, and purchase certain valuable mineral deposits on federal lands that are open for mining location and patent (open to mineral entry). (My Public Lands Tumblr)
Click here to read more about BLM’s mineral program.