| Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 3063 (rh) To amend the Mineral Leasing Act to increase the maximum acreage of Federal leases for sodium that may be held by an entity in any one State, and for other purposes. [Reported in House] ...
H.R. 3063 (rh) To amend the Mineral Leasing Act to increase the maximum acreage of Federal leases for sodium that may be held by an entity in any one State, and for other purposes. [Reported in House] ...
H. R. 3063
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
November 17, 1999
November 19, 1999
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural
To amend the Mineral Leasing Act to increase the maximum acreage of
Federal leases for sodium that may be held by an entity in any one
State, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds and declares that--
(1) The Federal lands contain commercial deposits of trona,
with the world's largest body of this mineral located on such
lands in southwestern Wyoming.
(2) Trona is mined on Federal lands through Federal sodium
leases issued under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920.
(3) The primary product of trona mining is soda ash (sodium
carbonate), a basic industrial chemical that is used for glass
making and a variety of consumer products, including baking
soda, detergents, and pharmaceuticals.
(4) The Mineral Leasing Act sets for each leasable mineral
limitations on the amount of acreage of Federal leases any one
producer may hold in any one state or nationally.
(5) The present acreage limitation for Federal sodium
(trona) leases has been in place for over five decades, since
1948, and is the oldest acreage limitation in the Mineral
Leasing Act. Over this time frame Congress and/or the BLM has
revised acreage limits for other minerals to meet the needs of
the respective industries. Currently, the sodium lease acreage
limitation of 15,360 acres per state is approximately one-third
of the per state Federal lease acreage cap for coal (46,080
acres) and potassium (51,200 acres) and one-sixteenth that of
oil and gas (246,080 acres).
(6) Three of the four trona producers in Wyoming are
operating mines on Federal leaseholds that contain total
acreage close to the sodium lease acreage ceiling.
(7) The same reasons that Congress cited in enacting
increases in other minerals' per state lease acreage caps apply
to trona: the advent of modern mine technology, changes in
industry economics, greater global competition, and need to
conserve the Federal resource.
(8) Existing trona mines require additional lease acreage
to avoid premature closure, and are unable to relinquish mined-
out areas to lease new acreage because those areas continue to
be used for mine access, ventilation, and tailings disposal and
may provide future opportunities for secondary recovery by
(9) Existing trona producers are having to make long term
business decisions affecting the type and amount of additional
infrastructure investments based on the certainty that
sufficient acreage of leaseable trona will be available for
mining in the future.
(10) To maintain the vitality of the domestic trona
industry and ensure the continued flow of valuable revenues to
the Federal and state governments and products to the American
public from trona production on Federal lands, the Mineral
Leasing Act should be amended to increase the acreage
limitation for Federal sodium leases.
SEC. 2. AMENDMENT OF MINERAL LEASING ACT.
Paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of section 27 of the Mineral
Leasing Act (41 Stat. 448; 30 U.S.C. 184(b)(2)) is amended by striking
``fifteen thousand three hundred and sixty acres'' and inserting
Passed the House of Representatives November 16, 1999.
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