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112th Congress                                            Rept. 112-583
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 1

======================================================================



 
    NATIONAL STRATEGIC AND CRITICAL MINERALS PRODUCTION ACT OF 2012

                                _______
                                

  July 9, 2012.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Hastings of Washington, from the Committee on Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 4402]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 4402) to require the Secretary of the Interior 
and the Secretary of Agriculture to more efficiently develop 
domestic sources of the minerals and mineral materials of 
strategic and critical importance to United States economic and 
national security and manufacturing competitiveness, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment 
and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``National Strategic and Critical 
Minerals Production Act of 2012''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

  Congress finds the following:
          (1) The industrialization of China and India has driven 
        demand for nonfuel mineral commodities, sparking a period of 
        resource nationalism exemplified by China's reduction in 
        exports of rare-earth elements necessary for 
        telecommunications, military technologies, healthcare 
        technologies, and conventional and renewable energy 
        technologies.
          (2) The availability of minerals and mineral materials are 
        essential for economic growth, national security, technological 
        innovation, and the manufacturing and agricultural supply 
        chain.
          (3) The exploration, production, processing, use, and 
        recycling of minerals contribute significantly to the economic 
        well-being, security and general welfare of the Nation.
          (4) The United States has vast mineral resources, but is 
        becoming increasingly dependent upon foreign sources of these 
        mineral materials, as demonstrated by the following:
                  (A) Twenty-five years ago the United States was 
                dependent on foreign sources for 30 nonfuel mineral 
                materials, 6 of which the United States imported 100 
                percent of the Nation's requirements, and for another 
                16 commodities the United States imported more than 60 
                percent of the Nation's needs.
                  (B) By 2011 the United States import dependence for 
                nonfuel mineral materials had more than doubled from 30 
                to 67 commodities, 19 of which the United States 
                imported 100 percent of the Nation's requirements, and 
                for another 24 commodities, imported more than 50 
                percent of the Nation's needs.
                  (C) The United States share of world wide mineral 
                exploration dollars was 8 percent in 2011, down from 19 
                percent in the early 1990s.
                  (D) In the 2012 Ranking of Countries for Mining 
                Investment, out of 25 major mining countries, the 
                United States ranked last with Papua New Guinea in 
                permitting delays, and towards the bottom regarding 
                government take and social issues affecting mining.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act:
          (1) Strategic and critical minerals.--The term ``strategic 
        and critical minerals'' means minerals that are necessary--
                  (A) for national defense and national security 
                requirements;
                  (B) for the Nation's energy infrastructure, including 
                pipelines, refining capacity, electrical power 
                generation and transmission, and renewable energy 
                production;
                  (C) to support domestic manufacturing, agriculture, 
                housing, telecommunications, healthcare, and 
                transportation infrastructure; and
                  (D) for the Nation's economic security and balance of 
                trade.
          (2) Agency.--The term ``agency'' means any agency, 
        department, or other unit of Federal, State, local, or tribal 
        government, or Alaska Native Corporation.
          (3) Mineral exploration or mine permit.--The term ``mineral 
        exploration or mine permit'' includes plans of operation issued 
        by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service 
        pursuant to 43 CFR 3809 and 36 CFR 228A respectively.

  TITLE I--DEVELOPMENT OF DOMESTIC SOURCES OF STRATEGIC AND CRITICAL 
                                MINERALS

SEC. 101. IMPROVING DEVELOPMENT OF STRATEGIC AND CRITICAL MINERALS.

  Domestic mines that will provide strategic and critical minerals 
shall be considered an ``infrastructure project'' as described in 
Presidential Order ``Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and 
Review of Infrastructure Projects'' dated March 22, 2012.

SEC. 102. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE LEAD AGENCY.

  (a) In General.--The lead agency with responsibility for issuing a 
mineral exploration or mine permit shall appoint a project lead who 
shall coordinate and consult with other agencies, cooperating agencies, 
project proponents and contractors to ensure that agencies minimize 
delays, set and adhere to timelines and schedules for completion of 
reviews, set clear permitting goals and track progress against those 
goals.
  (b) The lead agency with responsibility for issuing a mineral 
exploration or mine permit shall determine any such action would not 
constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality 
of the human environment within the meaning of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 if the procedural and substantive 
safeguards of the lead agency's permitting process alone, any 
applicable State permitting process alone, or a combination of the two 
processes together provide an adequate mechanism to ensure that 
environmental factors are taken into account.
  (c) The lead agency with responsibility for issuing a mineral 
exploration or mine permit shall enhance government coordination on 
permitting and review by avoiding duplicative reviews, minimizing 
paperwork and engaging other agencies and stakeholders early in the 
process. The lead agency shall consider the following best practices:
          (1) Deferring to and relying upon baseline data, analysis and 
        reviews preformed by State agencies with jurisdiction over the 
        proposed project.
          (2) Conducting reviews concurrently rather than sequentially 
        to the extent practicable and when such concurrent review will 
        expedite rather than delay a decision.
  (d) At the request of a project proponent, the project lead of the 
agency with responsibility for issuing a mineral exploration or mine 
permit shall enter into an agreement with the project proponent and 
other cooperating agencies that sets time limits for each part of the 
permit review process including the following:
          (1) The decision on whether to prepare a document required 
        under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.
          (2) A determination of the scope of any document required 
        under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.
          (3) The scope of and schedule for the baseline studies 
        required to prepare a document required under the National 
        Environmental Policy Act of 1969.
          (4) Preparation of any draft document required under the 
        National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.
          (5) Preparation of a final document required under the 
        National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.
          (6) Consultations required under applicable laws.
          (7) Submission and review of any comments required under 
        applicable law.
          (8) Publication of any public notices required under 
        applicable law.
          (9) A final or any interim decisions.
  (e) In no case should the total review process described in 
subsection (d) exceed 30 months unless agreed to by the signatories of 
the agreement.
  (f) The lead agency is not required to address agency or public 
comments that were not submitted during the public comment periods 
provided by the lead agency or otherwise required by law.
  (g) The lead agency will determine the amount of financial assurance 
for reclamation of a mineral exploration or mining site, which must 
cover the estimated cost if the lead agency were to contract with a 
third party to reclaim the operations according to the reclamation 
plan, including construction and maintenance costs for any treatment 
facilities necessary to meet Federal, State or tribal environmental 
standards.

SEC. 103. CONSERVATION OF THE RESOURCE.

  In developing the mineral exploration or mine permit, the priority of 
the lead agency shall be to maximize the development of the mineral 
resource, while mitigating environmental impacts, so that more of the 
mineral resource can be brought to the market place.

SEC. 104. FEDERAL REGISTER PROCESS FOR MINERAL EXPLORATION AND MINING 
                    PROJECTS.

  (a) Preparation of Federal Notices for Mineral Exploration and Mine 
Development Projects.--The preparation of Federal Register notices 
required by law associated with the issuance of a mineral exploration 
or mine permit shall be delegated to the organization level within the 
agency responsible for issuing the mineral exploration or mine permit. 
All Federal Register notices regarding official document availability, 
announcements of meetings, or notices of intent to undertake an action 
shall be originated and transmitted to the Federal Register from the 
office where documents are held, meetings are held, or the activity is 
initiated.
  (b) Departmental Review of Federal Register Notices for Mineral 
Exploration and Mining Projects.--Absent any extraordinary circumstance 
or except as otherwise required by any Act of Congress, each Federal 
Register notice described in subsection (a) shall undergo any required 
reviews within the Department of the Interior or the Department of 
Agriculture and be published in its final form in the Federal Register 
no later than 30 days after its initial preparation.

TITLE II--JUDICIAL REVIEW OF AGENCY ACTIONS RELATING TO EXPLORATION AND 
                              MINE PERMITS

SEC. 201. DEFINITIONS FOR TITLE.

  In this title the term ``covered civil action'' means a civil action 
containing a claim under section 702 of title 5, United States Code, 
regarding agency action affecting a mineral exploration or mine permit.

SEC. 202. TIMELY FILINGS.

  A covered civil action is barred unless filed no later than the end 
of the 60-day period beginning on the date of the final Federal agency 
action to which it relates.

SEC. 203. EXPEDITION IN HEARING AND DETERMINING THE ACTION.

  The court shall endeavor to hear and determine any covered civil 
action as expeditiously as possible.

SEC. 204. LIMITATION ON PROSPECTIVE RELIEF.

  In a covered civil action, the court shall not grant or approve any 
prospective relief unless the court finds that such relief is narrowly 
drawn, extends no further than necessary to correct the violation of a 
legal requirement, and is the least intrusive means necessary to 
correct that violation.

SEC. 205. LIMITATION ON ATTORNEYS' FEES.

  Sections 504 of title 5, United States Code, and 2412 of title 28, 
United States Code (together commonly called the Equal Access to 
Justice Act) do not apply to a covered civil action, nor shall any 
party in such a covered civil action receive payment from the Federal 
Government for their attorneys' fees, expenses, and other court costs.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 4402, as ordered reported, is to 
require the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of 
Agriculture to more efficiently develop domestic sources of the 
minerals and mineral materials of strategic and critical 
importance to United States economic and national security and 
manufacturing competitiveness.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    H.R. 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals 
Production Act of 2012, addresses the most significant 
roadblock to mineral exploration and development in the United 
States: permitting timelines. Currently the average timeframe 
for acquiring permits for domestic mine development on federal 
lands takes an average of seven to ten years. This needless 
delay puts the United States at a competitive disadvantage with 
other mineral rich countries and leaves the U.S. more dependent 
on foreign sources of minerals and mined materials, including 
rare earth elements. Today the U.S. is almost 100 percent 
dependent on China for rare earth elements, even though the 
U.S. has economic deposits of these mineral resources and at 
one time had the largest market share in the world. H.R. 4402 
builds on successful highway legislation and Administrative 
guidance on permitting procedures for infrastructure and 
renewable energy projects by requiring the lead agency to 
coordinate and effectively communicate with all cooperating 
agencies, project proponents and other stakeholders. 
Furthermore, the bill eliminates duplicative analysis, provides 
for timely filings for litigants, and allows 30 months for the 
lead agency to prepare, consider and reach a decision on 
permitting for mine development.
    In the 2012 Ranking of Countries for Mining Investment, the 
United States ranked with Papua New Guinea as last out of 25 
major mining countries in permitting delays, and towards the 
bottom regarding taxes, fees and social issues affecting 
mining. Permitting timelines for hard rock mines on federal 
land take the longest of the 25 mineral producing nations. On 
average it can take seven to ten years or more to acquire all 
of the permits and to work through litigation brought by 
environmental groups.
    Mineral production is a key economic activity, supplying 
strategic and critical metals and minerals essential for 
agriculture, communication, technology, construction, health 
care, manufacturing, transportation, and the arts. More 
specifically, strategic metals and metal alloys are an integral 
component of aerospace, defense, and other critical 
infrastructure. Minerals are also necessary to satisfy the 
basic requirements of an individual's well-being: food, 
clothing, shelter, and a clean, healthy environment.
    Mining of mineral resources creates tangible value, 
introducing new money into the nation's economic system. 
Additional tangible value is added to the raw mined product 
through manufacturing, construction, and other uses. Harvesting 
domestic mineral resources contributes to local economies, 
creates jobs, and benefits our nation's overall economic 
security.
    According to the National Research Council, one of the 
primary advantages the United States possesses over its 
strongest industrial competitors is its domestic resource base. 
The United States is among the world's largest producers of 
many important metals and minerals, particularly copper, gold, 
lead, molybdenum, silver, and zinc, and it still has 
substantial domestic reserves of these metals. Yet U.S. mineral 
exploration stagnated or declined during most of the 1990s and 
2000s while global mineral exploration trends were strongly 
positive.
    In the early 1990s, the U.S. received 20 percent of the 
worldwide mineral exploration budget; today it hovers around 8 
percent. Without increased domestic exploration, significant 
declines in U.S. mineral production are unavoidable as present 
reserves are exhausted. The lack of exploration expenditures 
and other factors described below has led to an increased 
import dependency for non-fuel mineral materials. For example 
25 years ago the United States was dependent on foreign sources 
for 30 non-fuel mineral materials, six of which were entirely 
imported to meet the nation's requirements and another 16 of 
which were imported to meet more than 60 percent of the 
nation's needs. By 2011, the U.S. import dependence for non-
fuel mineral materials had more than doubled from 30 to 67 
commodities, 19 of which the U.S. imported 100 percent of the 
nation's requirements and for another 24 commodities more than 
50 percent of the Nation's needs (see Appendix I).
    Working through the permitting process also became more 
cumbersome, as federal and state agencies with land management 
and regulatory responsibilities over mineral exploration and 
development projects worked at cross purposes to one another. 
Legal challenges to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 
analyses by anti-mining groups also contributed to the delays 
and uncertainties in obtaining the necessary permits for 
exploration and development.
    For example, a recent (July 2011) analysis of the time 
required for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to prepare 
NEPA Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and Supplemental 
Environmental Impact Statements (SEIS) for mine expansion 
projects in Nevada, compiled by a mine permitting consultant 
using data from BLM EIS documents and district office websites, 
found that the average elapsed time for EIS documents for 11 
projects was 53 months and the average elapsed time for SEIS 
documents for 6 projects was 27 months. These EIS and SEIS 
documents were for expansion of operations at existing active 
mine sites, not virgin mine project areas with little existing 
surface disturbance.
    Currently the United States lacks a coherent national 
policy to assure domestic availability of minerals essential 
for national economic well-being, national security, and global 
economic competitiveness. The nation's dependence on China for 
rare-earth elements and rare metals, elements necessary for 
telecommunications, military technologies, health-care 
technologies, and conventional and renewable energy 
technologies, is the most prominent example. The United States 
recently joined with Japan and the European Union to file a 
complaint with the World Trade Organization over China's policy 
of restricting exports of these important mineral resources, 
resources that we have in economic quantities in our own 
country.
    H.R. 4402 deliberately contains a broad definition of 
``strategic and critical minerals'' to allow for the greatest 
flexibility over time. In 2006, prior to the world-wide 
economic downturn, there was great concern over the future 
availability of platinum group metals and copper. At the time, 
projections in the demand for copper indicated that by 2016 30 
large-scale copper deposits would have to come on line to meet 
world-wide demand; there were not enough copper deposits in the 
pipeline to make up for the projected demand curve. The 
economic downturn in 2008 and the delayed economic recovery 
have pushed the 2016 copper supply demand threshold further 
into the future.
    Even sand and gravel and other construction mineral 
materials can be in short supply or not available, as the 
United States Geological Survey discovered in 2009 during the 
``Great California Shakeout,'' the first simulated major 
earthquake emergency response exercise conducted in Southern 
California. In its assessment of the scope of damage and the 
materials needed for reconstruction, the agency discovered 
there were not enough sand and gravel and other construction 
materials available in the region to meet the affected area's 
needs.
    In the current mineral commodity market environment, most 
people are focused on rare earths and China's restriction on 
the exports of those metals. Consequently, they want to 
restrict the definition of ``strategic and critical minerals'' 
to only include rare earths and a small number of other 
commodities. However, any mineral commodity can be in short 
supply at any given time and the United States needs to have 
the flexibility to allow for access to and development of those 
commodities that occur in economic quantities in this country.
    Finally, the President has recognized the problems 
associated with long permitting time-frames for infrastructure 
and renewable energy projects and has issued guidance documents 
requiring coordination and timely processing of permits to be 
issued by federal agencies with regulatory responsibilities for 
the project proponents to be able to begin construction in a 
timely manner. This legislation builds on this precedent set by 
the Administration by applying the principles outlined in the 
guidance documents to mineral exploration and development 
projects.
    During Full Committee consideration of H.R. 4402, 
Congressman Mark Amodei (R-NV) offered a technical amendment to 
Title 1 of Section 102, which was adopted by voice vote.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 4402 was introduced on April 19, 2012, by Congressman 
Mark Amodei (R-NV). The bill was primarily referred to the 
Committee on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the 
Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. The bill was also 
referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. On April 26, 2012, 
the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing 
on the bill. On May 16, 2012, the Full Natural Resources 
Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee on Energy 
and Mineral Resources was discharged by unanimous consent. 
Congressman Amodei offered amendment designated .001 to the 
bill; the amendment was adopted by voice vote. Congressman Raul 
Grijalva (D-AZ) offered amendment designated .003 to the bill; 
the amendment was not adopted by voice vote. Congressman Paul 
Tonko (D-NY) offered amendment designated .001 to the bill; the 
amendment was not adopted by a bipartisan roll call vote of 12 
to 19, as follows:


    Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) offered amendment designated 
Markey.004 to the bill; the amendment was not adopted by a 
bipartisan roll call vote of 10 to 24, as follows:


    The bill, as amended, was then adopted and ordered 
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by a 
bipartisan roll call vote of 24 to 12, as follows:


                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    The title of the bill is the ``National Strategic and 
Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012.''

Section 2. Findings

    Section 2 finds that the industrialization of China and 
India has driven demand for non-fuel mineral commodities, 
sparking a period of resource nationalism exemplified by 
China's reduction in exports of rare-earth elements, elements 
necessary for telecommunications, military technologies, 
health-care technologies, and conventional and renewable energy 
technologies.
    Further, the availability of minerals and metals are 
essential for economic growth, national security, technological 
innovation, and the manufacturing and agricultural supply 
chain.
    Finally, in the 2012 Ranking of Countries for Mining 
Investment, out of 25 major mining countries, the United States 
ranked last with Papua New Guinea in permitting delays, and 
towards the bottom regarding government take and social issues 
affecting mining.

Section 3. Definitions

    This section defines ``strategic and critical minerals'' as 
those that are necessary for national defense and national 
security requirements; for the nation's energy infrastructure 
including pipelines, refining capacity, electrical power 
generation and transmission, and renewable energy production; 
to support domestic manufacturing, agriculture, housing, 
telecommunications, healthcare and transportation 
infrastructure; and for the nation's economic security and 
balance of trade.

       Title I. Development of Domestic Sources of Strategic and 
                           Critical Minerals


Section 101. Improving development of strategic and critical minerals

    Section 101 states that those domestic mines that provide 
strategic or critical minerals shall be treated as an 
``infrastructure project'' as laid out in the President's 
Executive Order ``Improving Performance of Federal Permitting 
and Review of Infrastructure Projects,'' dated March 22, 1012.

Section 102. Responsibilities of the lead agency

    This section outlines responsibilities for the lead agency 
responsible for issuing mineral exploration or mine permits. 
Specifically, these include the identification of a project 
lead to coordinate with stakeholders, cooperating agencies and 
project proponents to minimize delays, set and adhere to 
timelines and schedules for completion of reviews, to establish 
clear permitting goals and to track progress in meeting those 
goals.
    It also provides for some NEPA relief if the lead agency 
and/or state agency have procedural and substantive safeguards 
built into their permitting process to ensure that 
environmental safeguards are taken into account. Further, it 
requires the lead agency to enhance government coordination on 
permitting and review by avoiding duplicative reviews, 
minimizing paperwork and engaging other agencies and 
stakeholders early in the process.
    In addition, a project proponent can request that the 
project lead enter into an agreement that lays out a timeline 
for permit review process. The review process cannot exceed 
more than 30 months unless the signatories to the agreement 
agree to an extension of time. The lead agency only has to 
address agency or public comments that were submitted during 
any public comment period. Lastly, this section restates 
current bonding requirements.

Section 103. Conservation of the resource

    Section 103 contains a ``conservation of the resource'' 
provision, providing that the responsibility of the lead agency 
is to maximize the development of the resource, while 
mitigating for environmental impacts so that more of the 
mineral resource can be brought to the marketplace.

Section 104. Federal Register process for mineral exploration and 
        mining projects

    This section reforms the process currently practiced by the 
Department of the Interior for placing and reviewing Federal 
Register notices for mineral exploration and mining projects 
that currently adds months and even years to the permitting 
process.

Title II. Judicial Review of Agency Actions Relating to Exploration and 
                             Mining Permits


Section 201. Definitions for title

    Section 201 defines ``covered civil action'' as one 
containing a claim under section 702 of title 5, United States 
Code, regarding agency action affecting a mineral exploration 
or mine permit.

Sec. 202. Timely filings

    This section provides a 60-day window for parties to file a 
civil action affecting a covered civil action.

Section 203. Expedition in hearing and determining the action

    Section 203 requires the court to hear and determine any 
covered action as expeditiously as possible.

Section 204. Limitation on prospective relief.

    This section limits prospective relief unless the relief is 
narrowly drawn, is necessary to correct a violation of a legal 
requirement and is the least intrusive means to correct the 
violation.

Section 205. Limitation on attorneys' fees

    Section 205 provides that civil actions under the Equal 
Access to Justice Act are not allowed for covered civil actions 
and the federal government cannot pay for attorney's fees, 
expenses or court costs.

            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Under clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the following cost estimate for this bill from the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

H.R. 4402--National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 
        2012

    CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 4402 would have no 
significant impact on the federal budget. Enacting the bill 
could reduce mandatory payments for attorneys' fees over the 
2013-2022 period; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. 
However, CBO estimates that any such impacts would be minimal. 
Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.
    The bill would require the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 
and the Forest Service to take certain actions aimed at 
streamlining the process for obtaining permits to extract 
minerals from federal lands. Based on information from the 
affected agencies, CBO estimates that the streamlining 
provisions would have no significant budgetary effect because 
those agencies are performing most of those activities under 
current law. The bill also would direct the agencies to 
expedite the publishing of notices in the Federal Register 
related to mineral exploration and mining projects. Based on 
information provided by BLM, CBO estimates that implementing 
that provision would cost less than $300,000 a year, assuming 
appropriation of the necessary amounts. Those funds would be 
used to hire additional employees to allow the affected 
agencies to meet the timelines established in the bill.
    Finally, H.R. 4402 would exempt lawsuits that affect 
mineral production on federal lands from the Equal Access to 
Justice Act. Based on information from the Government 
Accountability Office, CBO estimates that over the next 10 
years, the U.S. Treasury will make payments totaling less than 
$50,000 a year on behalf of the Department of the Interior and 
the Forest Service as a result of such lawsuits. Thus, we 
estimate that enacting the bill would result in a minimal 
decrease in direct spending for attorneys' fees over the 2013-
2022 period.
    H.R. 4402 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. Section 308(a) of Congressional Budget Act. As required 
by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget 
Act of 1974, this bill does not contain any new budget 
authority, spending authority, credit authority, or an increase 
or decrease in revenues or tax expenditures. CBO estimates that 
implementing H.R. 4402 would have no significant impact on the 
federal budget. Enacting the bill could reduce mandatory 
payments for attorneys' fees over the 2013-2022 period; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO 
estimates that any such impacts would be minimal.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill, as ordered reported, is to require the 
Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to 
more efficiently develop domestic sources of the minerals and 
mineral materials of strategic and critical importance to 
United States economic and national security and manufacturing 
competitiveness.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing 
law.

                               APPENDIX I



                     APPENDIX II: COMMITTEE LETTERS

                          House of Representatives,
                                Committee on the Judiciary,
                                     Washington, DC, June 14, 2012.
HanD-delivered.
Hon. Doc Hastings, 
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC.
    Dear Chairman Hastings: I am writing with respect to H.R. 
4402, the ``National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production 
Act of 2012,'' which the Committee on Natural Resources 
reported favorably, as amended, on May 16, 2012. As a result of 
your having consulted with us on provisions in H.R. 4402 that 
fall within the Rule X jurisdiction of the Committee on the 
Judiciary, I agree to discharge our Committee from further 
consideration of this bill so that it may proceed expeditiously 
to the House floor for consideration.
    The Judiciary Committee takes this action with our mutual 
understanding that by foregoing consideration of H.R. 4402 at 
this time, we do not waive any jurisdiction over subject matter 
contained in this or similar legislation, and that our 
Committee will be appropriately consulted and involved as the 
bill or similar legislation moves forward so that we may 
address any remaining issues in our jurisdiction. Our Committee 
also reserves the right to seek appointment of an appropriate 
number of conferees to any House-Senate conference involving 
this or similar legislation, and asks that you support any such 
request.
    I would appreciate a response to this letter confirming 
this understanding with respect to H.R. 4402, and would ask 
that a copy of our exchange of letters on this matter be 
included in the Congressional Record during Floor consideration 
of H.R. 4402.
            Sincerely,
                                               Lamar Smith,
                                                          Chairman.
                                ------                                

                          House of Representatives,
                            Committee on Natural Resources,
                                     Washington, DC, June 14, 2012.
Hon. Lamar Smith,
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary,
Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: Thank you for your letter regarding H.R. 
4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production 
Act of 2012. As you know, the Committee on Natural Resources 
ordered reported the bill by a bipartisan vote on May 16, 2012. 
I appreciate your support in bringing this legislation before 
the House of Representatives, and accordingly, understand that 
the Committee on the Judiciary will forego action on the bill.
    The Committee on Natural Resources concurs with the mutual 
understanding that by foregoing consideration of H.R. 4402 at 
this time, the Committee on the Judiciary does not waive any 
jurisdiction over the subject matter contained in this or 
similar legislation. In addition, should a conference on the 
bill be necessary, I would support your request to have the 
Committee on the Judiciary represented on the conference 
committee. Finally, I would be pleased to include your letter 
and this response in the bill report filed by the Committee on 
Natural Resources, as well as in the Congressional Record 
during floor consideration, to memorialize our understanding.
    Thank you for your cooperation.
            Sincerely,
                                              Doc Hastings,
                                                          Chairman.

                     APPENDIX III: DISSENTING VIEWS

 Dissenting Views--H.R. 4402: National Strategic and Critical Minerals 
                         Production Act of 2012

    We oppose H.R. 4402 because despite the bill's title, it 
has almost nothing to do with rare earths and other strategic 
and critical minerals. In fact, under the guise of promoting 
the development of minerals critical to U.S. national security, 
this legislation would dramatically reshape virtually all 
mining on public lands for nearly all minerals.
    H.R. 4402 is so broadly drafted that it would reduce or 
eliminate proper review under the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA) for almost all types of mines on public lands--
including hardrock mines such as silver and uranium; it could 
limit proper review of mines for minerals that are not remotely 
critical such as sand or gravel and it would even potentially 
apply to coal mines. There is virtually no type of mine that 
would be excluded from the truncated environmental review 
envisioned by this bill, where the mining industry, rather than 
the Interior Department, would be able to determine the time 
available for important environmental reviews.
    Moreover, according to Natural Resources Democratic staff 
analysis of data provided by the BLM for hardrock mines on 
public lands for which we have complete data, the average time 
it takes to approve a plan of operation for a mine has actually 
decreased under the Obama Administration. According to the BLM 
data, plans of operation for hardrock mines are being approved 
roughly 17 percent more quickly under the Obama Administration 
than under the Bush Administration. Despite industry claims, 82 
percent of plans of operation are approved within three years 
under the Obama Administration and according to the BLM, ``it 
takes on average four years to approve a mining plan of 
operations for a large mine (more than 1,000 acres) on public 
lands.''
    We should be working together to formulate a strategy to 
develop our rare earth and other critical minerals, not giving 
additional handouts to an industry that can already extract 
billions of dollars in valuable minerals from public lands 
without paying a dime in royalties to taxpayers. Promoting the 
development of minerals that are critical to core national 
priorities and genuinely susceptible to supply disruption, like 
rare earth elements, should be an area where Democrats and 
Republicans can work together.
    Rare earth elements are indispensable to a wide range of 
military, electronic, and industrial applications, as well as a 
variety of clean energy technologies, such as wind turbines, 
hybrid vehicles, solar panels and energy efficient light bulbs. 
There are currently few or no ready substitutes for these 
minerals in industry, and there are substantial risks to their 
overall supply since we rely almost completely on Chinese 
imports.
    This Committee has already reported out legislation on a 
bipartisan basis to lay the groundwork for developing critical 
and strategic minerals. Yet the Majority has not brought that 
bill to the House Floor for a vote and instead is moving H.R. 
4402, which would fundamentally change the review of nearly all 
mining activities on public lands.
    This legislation would also undermine the requirement in 
current law that our public lands be managed for multiple uses 
by elevating mining above all other uses, potentially 
threatening hunting, fishing, recreation and other important 
activities. H.R. 4402 would also needlessly limit judicial 
review of mining activities on public lands.
    The Majority rejected an amendment from National Parks, 
Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Ranking Member Grijalva 
(D-AZ) that would have ensured that nothing in the bill affects 
the multiple use requirement in the Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act of 1976 that protects hunting, fishing, grazing 
and other important activities on our public lands in addition 
as energy production. Representative Tonko (D-NY) offered an 
amendment that would have narrowed the scope of the bill solely 
to rare earths and other critical and strategic minerals which 
the Majority voted down, demonstrating that this legislation is 
intended to be much more far reaching than the bill's title 
indicates. Finally, the Majority rejected an amendment offered 
by Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Ranking Member 
Holt (D-NJ) that would have created a royalty for the 
extraction of hardrock minerals on public lands to ensure that 
the American people receive a fair return on these valuable 
minerals that mining companies are currently able to extract 
for free.
    Democrats will continue working to promote development of 
rare earth and other critical and strategic minerals, but we 
oppose eviscerating the proper review of virtually all mining 
on public lands under the guise of promoting the development of 
these minerals, as H.R. 4402 would do.

                                   Edward J. Markey.
                                   Rush Holt.
                                   Paul Tonko.
                                   Grace F. Napolitano.
                                   Madeleine Z. Bordallo.
                                   Raul M. Grijalva.
                                   Ben Ray Lujan.