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 						   Calendar No. 688

115th Congress}                                            { Report
                                 SENATE
  2d Session  }                                            { 115-402

======================================================================
 
                   YELLOWSTONE GATEWAY PROTECTION ACT

                                _______
                                

                December 4, 2018.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Ms. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 941]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 941) to withdraw certain National Forest 
System land in the Emigrant Crevice area located in the Custer 
Gallatin National Forest, Park County, Montana, from the mining 
and mineral leasing laws of the United States, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
without amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 941 is to withdraw certain National 
Forest System land in the Emigrant Crevice area located in the 
Custer Gallatin National Forest, Park County, Montana, from the 
mining and mineral leasing laws of the United States.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    Paradise Valley is a major river valley of the Yellowstone 
River in Southwestern Montana just north of Yellowstone 
National Park in Park County, Montana. The valley is flanked by 
the Absaroka Range on the east and the Gallatin Range on the 
west. The Yellowstone River flows through the valley and is 
noted for world class fly fishing. The valley also contains 
several natural hot springs, including Chico Hot Springs near 
Emigrant, Montana.
    In 2015, Lucky Minerals Inc., a Canadian company, applied 
for permits for exploratory drilling for gold and other 
minerals on both federal and private lands in the Emigrant 
Gulch area north of Chico Hot Springs. Though it withdrew its 
federal application, Lucky Minerals still has applications 
pending on private land. Another company, Crevice Mining Group, 
is proposing to mine on private lands that are surrounded by 
the Custer Gallatin National Forest, within the view of the 
Roosevelt Arch at Yellowstone National Park's north entrance.
    Environmental groups and local businesses have raised 
concerns that the exploration could lead to mining development, 
which they assert could harm wildlife, water quality and 
tourism. In June 2016, these groups asked the Obama 
Administration to issue an administrative mineral withdrawal of 
the Federal lands in the Emigrant Gulch area.
    Mining organizations have raised concerns about the 
withdrawal of land known to be highly mineralized. They note 
that the region was removed from the Absaroka Wilderness Area 
in 1978, at the recommendation of the U.S. Bureau of Mines, due 
to its substantial mineral potential. They further highlight 
the industry's technological improvements and warn that such 
land withdrawal will increase the nation's dependence on 
foreign sources of critical and strategic minerals.
    In November 2016, the U.S. Forest Service filed an 
application with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requesting 
that the Secretary of the Interior withdraw, for a 20-year 
term, approximately 30,370 acres of National Forest System 
lands in the Paradise Valley and Gardiner Basin from location 
and entry under the United States mining laws, but not from 
leasing under mineral and geothermal laws. According to the 
Forest Service's application, the purpose of the withdrawal is 
to protect and preserve the scenic integrity, wildlife 
corridors, and recreation values of the Emigrant Crevice area 
located in the Custer Gallatin National Forest, Park County, 
Montana. The Federal Register publication temporarily 
segregates the lands for up to two years from location and 
entry under the United States mining laws while the withdrawal 
application is processed.
    On October 12, 2018, BLM issued a public land order (PLO, 
83 FR 51701) that withdrew the 30,370 acres of Forest Service 
land from location and entry under mining laws for 20 years, 
subject to valid existing laws. The PLO makes clear that the 
land is still open to leasing under mineral and geothermal 
leasing laws. While the segregation does not affect the claims 
of Lucky Minerals or Crevice, an extended or permanent 
withdrawal from mining could impact their claims' viability.
    Pursuant to current law, the Department of the Interior can 
withdraw these lands for a maximum of 20 years but only 
Congress can legislate a permanent withdrawal. S. 941 
permanently withdraws the approximately 30,370 acres of 
National Forest System lands in the Emigrant Crevice area 
located in the Custer Gallatin National Forest, Park County, 
Montana from mining and mineral and geothermal leasing laws.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 941 was introduced by Senator Tester on April 25, 2017. 
The Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining, held a 
hearing on S. 941 on July 26, 2017.
    Companion legislation, H.R. 4644, was introduced by 
Representative Gianforte in the House of Representatives on 
December 14, 2017. The Natural Resources Committee's 
Subcommittee on 
Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on H.R. 4644 on 
June 21, 2018. The Natural Resources Committee ordered the bill 
favorably reported by a vote of 28-4 on September 26, 2018 
(H. Rept. 115-992).
    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resource met in 
open business session on October 2, 2018, and ordered S. 941 
favorably reported.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on October 2, 2018, by a majority voice 
vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 
941. Senators Risch and Lee asked to be recorded as voting no.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Sec 1. Short title

    Section 1 provides a short title for the bill.

Sec 2. Withdrawal

    Section 2(a) defines ``map'' to be the map entitled 
``Emigrant Crevice Proposed Withdrawal Area,'' and dated 
November 10, 2016.
    Subsection (b) withdraws, subject to valid existing rights, 
30,370 acres of Forest System land depicted on the map from 
location, entry, and patent under mining laws, and from 
disposition under mineral and geothermal leasing laws.
    Subsection (c) makes clear that any land acquired by the 
Federal government after the Act's enactment that is within the 
boundaries of the land depicted on the map, is immediately 
withdrawn in accordance with this section.
    Subsection (d) requires the Secretary of Agriculture to 
file the map with the Committees of jurisdiction; authorizes 
the Secretary of Agriculture to correct minor errors in the 
map; and requires the Forest Service and BLM to make the map 
publicly available.
    Subsection (e) makes clear that nothing in this legislation 
impacts any recreational uses, including hunting and fishing, 
on the withdrawn land as depicted on the map that are 
authorized under applicable laws as of the date of the Act's 
enactment.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of the costs of this measure has 
been provided by the Congressional Budget Office:
    S. 941 would withdraw roughly 30,000 acres of land in the 
Custer Gallatin National Forest in Montana from mining laws and 
mineral and geothermal leasing, subject to valid existing 
rights. That is, the bill would not allow new mining or other 
related activities on those lands, which are adjacent to the 
northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park.
    The Department of the Interior is reviewing a public land 
order to withdraw those lands from location and entry under 
mining laws for a period of 20 years. Through November 22, 
2018, no new mining claims will be accepted on those lands. If 
the department chooses not to implement the order, the lands 
will be open to new mining claims after that date. Using 
information from the department, CBO estimates that 
implementing the order would produce no significant change in 
administrative costs; therefore, implementing the bill also 
would have no significant effect on spending subject to 
appropriation.
    Because the affected lands currently produce no income from 
mineral or geothermal leasing (and are not expected to do so in 
the future), CBO estimates that enacting the bill would not 
affect offsetting receipts, which are treated as reductions in 
direct spending. Because enacting [Title] would not affect 
direct spending or revenues, pay-as-you-go procedures do not 
apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 941 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    S. 941 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    On October 19, 2018, CBO transmitted a cost estimate of 
H.R. 4644, the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, as ordered 
reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources on 
September 26, 2018. The two pieces of legislation are similar 
and CBO's estimates of their budgetary effects are the same.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Janani 
Shankaran. The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                      REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 941. The bill is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or 
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals 
and businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 941, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    S. 941, as ordered reported, does not contain any 
congressionally directed spending items, limited tax benefits, 
or limited tariff benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The testimony provided by the Department of Agriculture at 
the July 26, 2017, hearing on S. 941 follows:

 Statement of Glenn Casamassa, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest 
  System, U.S. Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture

    S. 941 would withdraw certain National Forest System land 
in the Emigrant Crevice area located in the Custer Gallatin 
National Forest, Montana, from the mining and mineral leasing 
laws of the United States, subject to valid existing rights.
    USDA supports domestic energy and mineral production as an 
important use of the National Forest System. Mining and energy 
development are an important source of jobs and can be a driver 
of local economies, especially in rural America. Employing 
modern technology, mineral and energy resources can be 
developed in many locations in ways that safeguard 
environmental protections. USDA seeks to manage these resources 
and activities in balance with the other natural resources, 
values, and economic drivers found on and around the national 
forests.
    Toward that balancing effort, on November 22, 2016, the 
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a notice in the 
Federal Register announcing that the Forest Service had filed 
an application requesting that the Secretary of the Interior 
withdraw, for a 20-year term and subject to valid existing 
rights, approximately 30,370 acres of National Forest System 
lands from location and entry under the United States mining 
laws, but not from leasing under mineral and geothermal laws.
    Publication of the Federal Register notice temporarily 
segregated the lands for up to two years from location and 
entry under the United States mining laws while the withdrawal 
application is being processed. The lands have otherwise been 
and will remain open to such forms of disposition as may be 
allowed by law on National Forest System lands, including 
leasing under the mineral and geothermal leasing laws. This 
notice also began a 90 day public comment opportunity to 
provide input on the withdrawal application, and announced a 
public meeting, which was held on January 18, 2017, in 
Livingston, Montana. Thousands of comments were received. These 
comments were largely, though not universally, supportive of 
proceeding with the withdrawal application. On June 17, the 
Custer Gallatin National Forest released a scoping notice, the 
beginning of the formal environmental review process under the 
National Environmental Policy Act. The proposed action is to 
withdraw these areas from future mineral entry under the 1872 
Mining Law, subject to valid existing rights, for 20 years. 
Passage of S. 941 would render this administrative withdrawal 
process moot.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by the bill as ordered 
reported.

                                  [all]