Examples of Weakening regulations at all levels, working for foreign corporations and not Americans!

Wyo. regulation of uranium mining would cost $4.5M:  DEQ Deputy Director Nancy Nuttbrock said the goal was to streamline the regulatory process

By The Associated Press | Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 10:01 am
CASPER — Wyoming would need six years and $4.5 million to take over regulation of the state’s uranium industry from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, according to a new report released by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

Wyoming legislators requested the analysis. Lawmakers and uranium producers say federal permitting delays have kept Wyoming from cashing in on high uranium prices.

Right now, Texas and Colorado are the only two states that have primary authority for regulating uranium mining in place of the NRC. The new study provides lawmakers with a road map for becoming the third state to do that, the Casper Star-Tribune reports.

The NRC has approved three uranium mines in Wyoming since 2007. Three other operators currently have proposals before the NRC to open facilities.

DEQ Deputy Director Nancy Nuttbrock said the goal was to streamline the regulatory process and uphold environmental protections.

Uranium is extracted in Wyoming through a process of injecting water and chemicals underground, into uranium-bearing rock. Wells pump out water containing uranium that has been dissolved out of the rock.

Ur-Energy had to complete four environmental impact statements — one for the state, two for the NRC and one for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management — for its Lost Creek mine north of Rawlins, company president Wayne Heili said.
The mine’s application was submitted in 2007. The facility opened earlier this year.
“It meant a long period of delay, and a lot of extra expense,” Heili said.


Canada: Fourth Time's The Charm? Quebec Introduces Mining Act Changes Again

Last Updated: December 6 2013
Article by Charles Kazaz and Viorelia Guzun
On December 5, 2013, in the Québec National Assembly, Martine Ouellet, the Quebec Minister of Natural Resources (MNR) presented Bill 70, which seeks to amend the Quebec Mining Act (Act). Bill 70 comes on the heels of the recent defeat of Bill 43 which sought to replace the existing Act. Bill 70 is the fourth attempt to modify or replace the mining regime in Quebec since 2009.

It appears that the government has the support of one of the opposition parties, the Coalition Avenir Québec, and it is therefore expected that Bill 70 will have a good chance of passing. The proposed changes include:
  • Aboriginal Communities: Following criticism that Bill 43 did not sufficiently address specific aboriginal issues, Bill 70 proposes to add a chapter to the Act that deals specifically with aboriginal communities. These provisions provide that the Act must be construed in a manner consistent with the duty to consult and that consideration of aboriginal rights and interests are part of reconciling mining with other uses of the territory. It also provides that the Minister will prepare and keep updated a native community consultation policy for the mining sector.
  • Notices of Claim and Exploration Work: As was provided in Bill 43, within 60 days of registration, claim holders will be required to notify the municipality and the surface rights owner or leaseholder of the fact that they have obtained the claim. Rather than the 90-day period provided for in Bill 43, claim holders will be required to inform the municipality at least 30 days prior to performing work.
  • Measures to Foster Exploration Work: As with Bill 43, excess amounts spent on a claim that can be allocated to renew other claims is reduced from a radius of 4.5 to 3.5 kilometres and the period during which excess amounts may be carried over is limited to 12 years. It will still be possible to make a cash payment in lieu of mandatory exploration work, but the amount of the cash payment will be twice the amount of the outstanding work. Bill 70 also provides that an annual operations plan and an annual report on all work performed must be submitted to the MNR.
  • Closure Plan and Obtaining Environmental Approvals Are Preconditions for Issuance of a Lease: As with Bill 43, the approval of a mine closure plan and the issuance of environmental approvals will be required before a mining lease is issued. It is proposed that the closure plan will be registered in the mining register kept by the MNR for public information purposes. The Minister will also be permitted to add conditions to a lease in order to avoid conflicts with other uses of the territory.
  • Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Public Consultation Requirements: Bill 70 proposes that EIAs will be required for all mineral processing plant construction and operation projects and all mine development and operation projects, where the processing or production capacity of the plant or the mine is 2,000 tonnes per day or more. However, all rare earth processing projects are to be subject to an EIA process regardless of the processing or production capacity. This is in contrast to the current 7,000 tonnes per day limit that is currently set but is above the threshold set in Bill 43, where no processing or production limits were set.

    For metal mine projects where the mine has a production capacity of less than the 2,000 tonnes per day threshold, a public consultation process must be held before a mining lease may be granted. However, this requirement will not apply to rare earth projects.
  • Scoping and Market Study: A scoping and market study on processing in Quebec must be submitted with the lease application and every 20 years thereafter, as well as before beginning mining operations on any mining concessions and every 20 years thereafter. This will be less costly to prepare than the ore processing feasibility study proposed under the previous Bill 43.
  • Economic Spinoffs and Economic Spinoff Committee: As with Bill 43, Bill 70 proposes that when granting a lease and 20 years after mining activities begin, the government may require that the economic spinoffs within Quebec of mining the mineral resource be maximized. However, Bill 70 now indicates that they may only be required if there are reasonable grounds to do so. The government may also require the lessee to establish and maintain a monitoring committee to foster the involvement of the local community in the project. Holders of mining concessions on which mining operations have not yet commenced will be subject to a similar requirement.
  • Public Information: Similar to Bill 43, documents and information obtained by the Minister from mining rights holders under the Act are considered to be public. The Minister can make these documents and information public in the manner the Minister sees fit. However, data contained in exploration work reports will remain confidential for two years, with the exception of geological, geochemical, geophysical and analytical data.

    The following information must be made public once a year for each lease, concession and surface mineral substances lease: (1) the quantity and value of the ore extracted during the previous year; (2) the royalties paid during the previous year; and (3) the overall contributions paid by the holder. The closure plan and the financial guarantee are also made public.

    However, in contrast with Bill 43, there will no longer be a requirement for community agreements to be made public. In fact, Bill 70 provides specifically that the data contained in an agreement entered into between a mining rights holder and a community is not to be made public and may only be used for statistical purposes.
  • Power to Terminate Sand and Gravel Leases: The Minister may refuse to grant or terminate a sand and gravel lease if it is of the view that it is in the public interest.
  • Expropriation Rights Curbed: It is proposed that the power to expropriate that mining rights holders have under the Act can now only be exercised during the actual mining stage and they will be required to compensate expropriated parties for certain costs of professional services.
  • Increased Fines: Fines for violations of the Act have been increased substantially and, depending on the offence, may reach as high as C$6-million.
  • Powers of Regional County Municipalities: RCMs may declare portions of their territory as a mining-incompatible territory in their land use and development plan. The Minister may within a certain period declare that the designation of a territory as being incompatible is inconsistent with government policy direction that is to be prepared.
Although it is expected that the government will be seeking swift passage of Bill 70, at this stage, it is unclear when it will be passed. We will keep you posted on developments.
Looking back at Quebec’s previous attempt to modify its mining legislation

| | Last Updated: 06/12/13 8:22 AM ET
The most recent attempt was Bill 43
Mining companies saw the legislation as skewed against them

Comments:  Example of bragging about weakening regulations from Mr. Hurt and he fails to tell us the following:  "US House approves $5,000 fee for official drilling protests, less federal authority over fracking".   Most corporations are foreign and our federal government is working for them, not us!    Pray for the following:  "The two bills have little chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate. Even if it did, President Obama has stated he would veto the legislation should it get that far."

Robert's Round-Up: Growing Energy Independen​ce and Creating Virginia Jobs

November 26, 2013

Growing Energy Independence and Creating Virginia Jobs

Dear Friend,
As I travel throughout Central and Southside Virginia, I regularly hear from my constituents that today’s high energy costs are bearing a significant burden on our Main Street businesses, our farmers, and our families. Not only are Fifth District Virginians suffering from high prices at the pump, but high fuel prices have caused higher prices across the board, making it increasingly more difficult for families and small businesses to achieve financial stability.
Last week, the House of Representatives passed legislation to protect expanding American energy production and create American jobs. I am encouraged by the passage of H.R. 1965, the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act, because it represents a significant milestone in our goal to achieve energy independence.
The bipartisan legislation passed by the House last week streamlines government regulations that hamper onshore American energy production and job creation. By reforming the leasing process for onshore oil and natural gas projects, H.R. 1965 harbors the expansion of efficient wind and solar permitting, as well as oil shale development.
This legislation also represents a central piece of our "all of the above" energy strategy that includes increased oil and gas production, including off of Virginia's coast, the use of alternative energies, as well as conservation. Furthermore, not only does energy production reduce costs on families, it is also one of the few productive segments of our nation's economy at the present time. We should be doing all we can to continue growing this important sector.
I am pleased that the House of Representatives has acted to encourage the creation of new jobs and lighten the burden on our hardworking families and small businesses. It is time that the Administration removes itself as a barrier to job creation and an obstacle to our energy independence.
I look forward to continuing my work in the House to create a sensible domestic energy policy, and it is my sincere hope that the Senate and the President will join us in this crucial effort.
If you need any additional information, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office:(202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office:(434) 395-0120.

Comments:  He failed to us the following:

US House approves $5,000 fee for official drilling protests, less federal authority over fracking

Published time: November 21, 2013 22:41
Edited time: November 24, 2013 09:25

The US House passed Wednesday two bills that would demand a $5,000 filing fee for any individual that wanted to hold an official protest of a drilling project, and that would give the feds less authority nationwide over hydraulic fracking rules.

HR 1965, the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act, imposes a $5,000 fee for anyone wishing to file for an official protest of a proposed drilling project.
An amendment to the bill offered by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) that would have clarified the fee to make sure it was not in violation of First Amendment rights was defeated.
In addition, the bill would allow for automatic approval of onshore drilling permits should the US Department of Interior (DOI) take over 60 days to act on an application. DOI would also be required to begin commercial leasing for development of oil shale - not to be confused with “shale oil” - which is rock that must be heated to about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit to yield crude oil.
The controversial practice has been largely nonexistent in the US since the days of President Herbert Hoover, who prohibited leasing federal lands for oil shale, “the dirtiest fuel on the planet,” according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. The oil shale process “takes a large amount of energy and money, as well as 3-5 barrels of water per barrel of oil produced, a dangerous issue in the parched West,” according to Jessica Goad of the Center for American Progress’ Public Lands Project. 
Large tracts of land - especially in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming - hold deposits of oil shale. The bill would require the federal government to open up 10 leases of its land in 2014 for research and demonstration projects, with further developments by 2016.
The House passed the measure, sponsored by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), by a vote of 228 to 192, with seven Democrats supporting it and only one Republican in opposition.
The other bill - HR 2728, the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act - would put more authority of hydraulic fracking in the hands of states that already have rules on the practice.
Unless a state has yet to set guidelines on fracking, DOI would have no authority over whether companies disclose what chemicals they use in fracking fluid, whether water from fracked wells is polluted or whether anyone can request public hearings regarding fracking permit applications.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 235 to 187, as 12 Democrats supported it and only two Republicans did not.
Hydraulic fracking is the highly-controversial process of injecting water, sand and various chemicals into layers of rock in hopes of releasing oil and gas deep underground. The practice is opposed worldwide, as shown by global protests against fracking in October, for its damning environmental impacts. 
Supporters say it brings jobs and opportunities for energy independence, though detractors have pointed to exaggerated employment claims. Multiple reports have found any jobs created by fracking usually go to established, already-employed oil industry workers from places like Texas rather than local citizens.
Meanwhile, more money is being thrown at the US political class to support fracking, representing the rising popularity of it among energy companies. Calculations released Wednesday by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics Washington show fracking industry contributions to congressional campaigns went up 231 percent from 2004 to 2012 in districts and states where fracking has occurred.
The two bills have little chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate. Even if it did, President Obama has stated he would veto the legislation should it get that far.
House Democrats opposed to the bills decried voting on such measures that have no chance of becoming law. “The galleries are empty, the floor is empty, because we’re not doing anything,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said Wednesday on the House floor. “And it’s not because we don’t have a lot of things to do.”