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] ...


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106th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 3063


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           November 17, 1999

                                Received

                           November 19, 1999

    Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural 
                               Resources

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
  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 
        solution mining.
            (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 
``30,720 acres''.

            Passed the House of Representatives November 16, 1999.

            Attest:

                                                 JEFF TRANDAHL,

                                                                 Clerk.

Pages: 1

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