[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 125 (Monday, June 30, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 36662-36665]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-15259]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

43 CFR Part 3830

[LLWO320000-L19900000.PP0000]
RIN 1004-AE35


Required Fees for Mining Claims or Sites

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is issuing this final rule 
to make statutorily authorized adjustments to its location and 
maintenance fees for unpatented mining claims, mill sites, and tunnel 
sites. These adjustments reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index 
(CPI), which is published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

DATES: The final rule is effective June 30, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit inquiries to: Mail: Director (630), Bureau of 
Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C St. NW., 
Washington, DC 20240, Attention: 1004-AE27. Personal or messenger 
delivery: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, 
20 M St. SE., Room 2134LM, Attention: Regulatory Affairs, Washington, 
DC 20003. Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions at this Web site.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sonia Santillan at 202-912-7123, in 
the Solid Minerals Group as to program matters or the substance of the 
final rule or Jennifer Noe in the Division of Regulatory Affairs at 
202-912-7442 for information relating to the rulemaking process 
generally. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf 
(TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-
877-8339, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to contact the above 
individuals.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background
II. Discussion of the Final Rule
III. Procedural Matters

I. Background

    The Mining Law of 1872 allows individuals and corporations to 
prospect for mineral deposits in public lands, and stake (or 
``locate'') a claim on the deposits discovered. Historically, annual 
assessment work and related filings have been required by statute in 
order to maintain an unpatented mining claim or site. (30 U.S.C. 28-
28e; 43 U.S.C. 1744(a) and (c)).
    Beginning in fiscal year 1993, mining claimants have been required 
to pay an annual maintenance fee in lieu of performing annual 
assessment work and making annual filings. Mining claimants locating 
new claims or sites must also pay a one-time location fee. (30 U.S.C. 
28f-28l).
    This rule implements 30 U.S.C. 28j(c), which authorizes adjustments 
to the location and annual maintenance fees ``to reflect changes in the 
Consumer Price Index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the 
Department of Labor every 5 years after August 10, 1993, or more 
frequently if the Secretary determines an adjustment to be 
reasonable.'' Section 28j(c) also requires that mining claimants be 
provided ``notice of any adjustment made under this subsection not 
later than July 1 of any year in which the adjustment is made,'' and 
that any fee adjustment ``shall begin to apply the first assessment 
year which begins after adjustment is made.''
    As enacted in 1993, the one-time location fee was $25, and the 
annual maintenance fee was $100 per mining claim or site. In 2004, the 
BLM increased the amount of the location and maintenance fees to $30 
and $125 respectively, based on the change in the CPI from September 1, 
1993, to December 31, 2003, 69 FR 40294 (July 1, 2004). Then in 2009, 
the BLM increased the amount of the location and maintenance fees to 
$34 and $140, respectively, based on the change in the CPI from 
December 31, 2003, to December 31, 2008, 74 FR 30959 (June 29, 2009). 
The BLM has promulgated other rules that have affected other aspects of 
the table of charges and fees at 43 CFR 3830.21, the regulation that is 
amended by this rule. For example, on July 27, 2012, the BLM published 
an interim final rule, 77 FR 44155 (July 27, 2012), that amended 43 CFR 
3830.21 pursuant to a statutory amendment enacted in December of 2011, 
which changed the way the maintenance fee is calculated for unpatented 
placer mining claims.
    The adjustments made in this rule are based upon the change in the 
CPI from December 31, 2008, to December 31, 2013, as reported by the 
Bureau of Labor Statistics in the CPI Detailed Report, Table 24C, 
Historical Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CP-
U): U.S. city average, all items (http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpid1312.pdf). 
The calculated change is 9.96 percent from December 31, 2008, through 
December 31, 2013. A calculated value for the fees was obtained by 
inflating the location and maintenance fees established in the

[[Page 36663]]

2009 rulemaking by 9.96 percent. The new location fee is $37 for each 
mining claim or site. The new maintenance fee is $155 for each lode 
mining claim, mill site, or tunnel site; and $155 for each 20 acres or 
portion thereof for each placer mining claim. The new location fee is 
based on rounding the calculated value to the nearest $1. The new 
maintenance fee is based on rounding the calculated value to the 
nearest $5.
    Mining claimants must pay the new location and maintenance fee for 
any mining claim or site located on or after September 1, 2014. Mining 
claimants must also pay the new maintenance fee for existing mining 
claims and sites to maintain those claims and sites, beginning with the 
2015 assessment year. The maintenance fee for existing claims and sites 
is due on or before September 1, 2014. In accordance with 43 CFR 
3834.23(d), mining claimants who have already submitted maintenance fee 
payments for the 2015 assessment year, or those who timely pay the 2015 
assessment year maintenance fee based on the fee in effect immediately 
before the adjustment was made, will be given an opportunity to pay the 
additional amount without penalty upon notice from the BLM. The BLM 
will also give claimants the opportunity to cure deficient maintenance 
and location fee payments for new claims or sites located on or after 
September 1, 2014, and timely received on or before December 31, 2014. 
Failure to cure the payments within the time allowed will cause the 
affected mining claims or sites to be forfeited. After December 31, 
2014, the full maintenance and location fee payments, based on the new 
amounts, are required at the time of recording along with the required 
processing fee.

II. Discussion of the Final Rule

Why the Rule Is Being Published on a Final Basis

    The BLM is adopting this final rule solely to adjust the location 
and maintenance fee amounts in paragraphs (a) and (d) of section 43 CFR 
3830.21. The BLM for good cause finds under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) that 
notice and an opportunity for public comment for this rule are 
unnecessary, and that this rule may properly take effect upon 
publication. The reason is that this rule implements a statutory 
requirement to adjust the location and annual maintenance fees at least 
every 5 years, and the last adjustment was made in 2009. The statute 
specifies the method of calculation of the fee adjustments and 
prescribes the form and manner of notice of the fee adjustment, and the 
BLM has no discretion in implementing the statute. The BLM also 
determines under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) that there is good cause to place the 
rule into effect on the date of publication, because the adjustments 
made in the rule are explicitly authorized by statute.

Organization of the Final Rule

    This final rule contains only the specific amendments necessary to 
conform to the requirements of the statute. The amendments appear as 
modifications of the fee transaction table at 43 CFR 3830.21 to change 
the amount of the location and annual maintenance fees required to be 
paid for each lode mining claim, mill site, or tunnel site, and for 
each 20 acres or portion thereof for each placer mining claim.

III. Procedural Matters

Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review

    In accordance with the criteria in Executive Order 12866, BLM has 
determined that this rule is not a significant regulatory action.
     The rule will not have an annual effect on the economy of 
$100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, 
a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the 
environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal 
governments or communities. The fee adjustment does not change the 
substance of current mining claim administration within the BLM. The 
total amount of fees to be collected, including the effects of the 
adjustment, is estimated to be $59 million annually, of which 
approximately $5 million will be attributable to the adjustments made 
in this rule.
     This rule will not create inconsistencies with other 
agencies' actions. It does not change the relationships of the BLM to 
other agencies and their actions.
     This rule will not materially affect entitlements, grants, 
loan programs, or the rights and obligations of their recipients. The 
rule does not address any of these programs.
     This rule will not raise novel legal or policy issues 
because it makes no major substantive changes in the regulations. The 
Constitutionality of the location and maintenance fees has been 
challenged in the Federal courts. The courts have consistently upheld 
the fee legislation and implementing regulations.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The BLM certifies that this rule will not have a significant 
economic effect on a substantial number of small entities as defined 
under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) The rule 
will have a minor impact because the fees paid by small entities will 
be adjusted. Although the new fees will impact a substantial number of 
small entities, the fee increases do not represent a significant 
economic effect. A final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not 
required, and a Small Entity Compliance Guide is not required. For the 
purposes of this section a ``small entity'' is an individual, limited 
partnership, or small company, at ``arm's length'' from the control of 
any parent companies, with fewer than 500 employees or less than $7 
million in revenue. This definition is consistent with Small Business 
Administration regulations at 13 CFR 121.201.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:
     Will not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 
million or more. The revised regulation will not materially alter 
current BLM policy. The fee adjustments are authorized by statute. The 
total amount of fees collected, including the effects of the 
adjustment, is estimated to be $59 million annually, of which $5 
million is attributable to the adjustments made in this rule.
     Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government 
agencies, or geographic regions.
     Will not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.):
     This rule will not ``significantly or uniquely'' affect 
small governments. A Small Government Agency Plan is unnecessary.
     This rule will not produce a Federal mandate of $100 
million or greater in any year. It is not a ``significant regulatory 
action'' under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. The changes 
implemented in this rule do not require anything of any non-Federal 
governmental entity.

[[Page 36664]]

Executive Order 12630, Takings

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, the BLM finds that the 
rule does not have takings implications. A takings implication 
assessment is not required. This rule does not substantially change BLM 
policy. Nothing in this rule constitutes a taking. The Federal courts 
have heard a number of suits challenging the imposition of the rental 
and maintenance fees as a taking of a right, or, alternatively, as an 
unconstitutional tax. The courts have upheld the fee legislation and 
the BLM regulations as a proper exercise of Congressional and Executive 
authorities.

Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    The final rule will not have a substantial direct effect on the 
states, on the relationship between the national government and the 
states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with Executive 
Order 13132, the BLM has determined that the final rule does not have 
sufficient Federalism implications to warrant preparation of a 
Federalism Assessment.

Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal 
Governments

    In accordance with Executive Order 13175, the BLM finds that the 
final rule does not include policies that have Tribal implications. 
Because this rule does not make significant substantive changes in the 
regulations and does not specifically involve Indian reservation lands 
(which are closed to the operation of the Mining Law), the BLM finds 
that the rule will have no implications for Indians, Indian Tribes, and 
Tribal governments.

Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988, the BLM finds that the 
final rule does not unduly burden the judicial system, and therefore 
meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order. The 
BLM consulted with the Department of the Interior's Office of the 
Solicitor during the drafting process.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The BLM has determined this final rule does not contain any new 
information collection requirements that the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) must approve under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). The OMB has approved the information collection 
requirements in the regulations under OMB control number 1004-0114 that 
pertain to the payment of mining claim recordation and maintenance 
fees.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    This final rule does not constitute a major Federal action 
significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. A 
detailed statement under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
(NEPA) is not required because this rule is part of the routine 
administration of the fee legislation and is covered by a Departmental 
categorical exclusion provided for under 43 CFR 46.210(f). This rule 
will result in no new surface disturbing activities and therefore will 
have no effect on ecological or cultural resources. In promulgating 
this rule, the government is conducting routine and continuing 
government business of an administrative nature having limited context 
and intensity. Therefore, it is categorically excluded from 
environmental review under section 102(2)(C) of NEPA, pursuant to 43 
CFR 46.205. The rule does not meet any of the extraordinary 
circumstances criteria for categorical exclusions listed at 43 CFR 
46.215. Under Council on Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR 
1508.4) and the environmental policies and procedures of the 
Department, the term ``categorical exclusion'' means a category of 
actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant 
effect on the human environment and which have been found to have no 
such effect on procedures adopted by a Federal agency and for which, 
therefore, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental 
impact statement is required.

Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

    This rule is not a significant energy action. It will not have an 
adverse effect on energy supplies. To the extent that the rule affects 
the mining of energy minerals (i.e., uranium and other fissionable 
metals), the rule applies only a statutory adjustment of the mining 
claim location and maintenance fees that the BLM has been collecting 
for many years. It will not significantly change financial obligations 
of the mining industry.

Author

    The principal author of this final rule is Sonia Santillan in the 
Solid Minerals Group assisted by the Division of Regulatory Affairs, 
Washington Office, BLM.

List of Subjects in 43 CFR Part 3830

    Mineral royalties, Mines, Public lands--mineral resources, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the BLM amends 43 CFR part 
3830 as follows:

PART 3830--LOCATING, RECORDING, AND MAINTAINING MINING CLAIMS OR 
SITES; GENERAL PROVISIONS

0
1. The authority citation for part 3830 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  18 U.S.C. 1001, 3571; 30 U.S.C. 22, 28, 28k, 242, 
611; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 43 U.S.C. 2, 1201, 1212, 1457, 1474, 1740, 
1744; 115 Stat. 414; Pub. L. No. 112-74, 125 Stat. 786.

Subpart D--BLM Service Charge and Fee Requirements

0
2. Amend Sec.  3830.21 by revising paragraphs (a) and (d) of the table 
to read as follows:


Sec.  3830.21  What are the different types of service charges and 
fees?

* * * * *

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                                          Amount due per mining claim or
              Transaction                              site                          Waiver available
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(a) Recording a mining claim or site       A total sum which includes:    No.
 location (part 3833).                   (1) The processing fee for
                                          notices of location found in
                                          the fee schedule in Sec.
                                          3000.12 of this chapter;.
                                         (2) A one-time $37 location
                                          fee; and
                                         (3)(i) For lode claims, mill
                                          sites and tunnel sites, an
                                          initial $155 maintenance fee;
                                          or
                                         (ii) For placer claims, an
                                          initial $155 maintenance fee
                                          for each 20 acres of the
                                          placer claim or portion
                                          thereof.
 

[[Page 36665]]

 
                                                  * * * * * * *
(d) Maintaining a mining claim or site   (1) For lode claims, mill sites  Yes. See part 3835.
 for one assessment year (part 3834).     and tunnel sites, an annual
                                          maintenance fee of $155 must
                                          be paid on or before September
                                          1 each year.
                                         (2) For placer claims, a $155
                                          annual maintenance fee for
                                          each 20 acres of the placer
                                          claim or portion thereof must
                                          be paid on or before September
                                          1 each year.
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Janice M. Schneider,
Assistant Secretary, Land and Minerals Management.
[FR Doc. 2014-15259 Filed 6-27-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-84-P