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116th National Western Mining Conference & Exhibition April 17, 2014 LAURA SKAER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AMERICAN EXPLORATION & MINING ASSOCIATION.

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Presentation on theme: "116th National Western Mining Conference & Exhibition April 17, 2014 LAURA SKAER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AMERICAN EXPLORATION & MINING ASSOCIATION."— Presentation transcript:

1 116th National Western Mining Conference & Exhibition April 17, 2014 LAURA SKAER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AMERICAN EXPLORATION & MINING ASSOCIATION


3 National voice for exploration of locatable and non- coal minerals, the junior mining company sector and maintaining access to public lands Public lands, Mining Law, environmental, health & safety, public outreach State mining association for OR & WA Active Washington DC presence Second largest annual mining convention in U.S.


5 Greater Sage-Grouse (SG) habitat covers million acres in 11 western states BLM/USFS administer + 60 million acres of habitat BLMs proposed land use restrictions & prohibitions in the LUPAs will severely restrict access and multiple- use Wildlands Policy (Sec. Order 3310) disguised as a sage-grouse Prohibit mineral entry in priority habitat areas Create widespread adverse economic impacts in 11 states Most serious threat to mining on public lands since Mining Law debates of the 1990s Its the LUPAs, not the listing

6 2002 – 2003: Petition to list GSG as a T&E species 2005: USFWS determined listing not warranted 2007: Lawsuits challenging USFWS decision Idaho District Court remands to USFWS 2010: USFWS Warranted but Precluded (WBP) listing determination makes GSG a candidate species (8 on a 1-12 scale) Key question: Are existing regulatory mechanisms adequate to conserve GSG habitat? Science supporting WBP is weakCESAR Report Dr. Oz Garton- used computer models and cites the infamous Dr. Anonymous

7 WBP decision cites lack of enforceable regulatory mechanisms, mainly in WY In 2011, FWS enters into a behind closed doors settlement with environmental plaintiffs on hundreds of species, including GSG that impact all of the lower 48 states USFWS agrees to eliminate the statutory WBP (candidate species) option leaving only two choices: warranted or not warranted (de facto warranted because of policy where science is in doubt) Essentially deprives states & private parties of the ability to demonstrate their conservation plans are working

8 Settlement may violate ESA: Eliminates possibility that candidate species, including GSG, could remain candidate species (velvet hammer becomes a sledge hammer) Arbitrary and aggressive deadlines impedes FWS ability to use best available science and commercial data WBP as a selectable alternative is necessary to ensure determinations are based on best available science and commercial data when that science is evolving Recent decision to reopen comment period for Bi-State DPS and delay decision for 6 months references new data and emerging science Court approves settlement with a listing deadline of FYE 2015 for the GSG

9 OK & Domestic Energy Producers Alliance sue to invalidate multi-species settlement agreement Alleges violation of ESA, APA & Constitution by eliminating statutorily mandated alternative of WBP in a friendly, behind-closed-doors settlement Violated statutory obligation to make decisions based on best available science and commercial data Violated statutory obligation to consider efforts of a state or political subdivision to protect a species Altered FWS legal obligations in absence of congressional action or a public rulemaking Consider Sec. Salazars invitation to western governors to develop state plans when there was no chance they would prevent a listing because of settlement deadlines

10 BLM/USFS amending 88 land use plans to address conservation of sage-grouse and its habitat USFWS/BLM assume human activity is the problem, but... its really fire and invasive species, especially in the Great Basin states Ted Koch, USFWS Supervisor for NV, states the three greatest threats to the Greater Sage-grouse are Fire and invasive species; Fire and invasive species; Fire and invasive species Stopping fire and invasive species requires active land management by all, including industry

11 BLM issues its National Technical Team Report (NTT Report) in December 2011 Draconian land restrictions--Stop doing that The NTT Report is a significant departure from Secretary Salazars collaborative approach. (top down Could signal a pre-determined outcome. Judge Winmill 11/23/2012 decision that NTT is best available science, but... is it? Winmills declaration of best available science puts Wyomings core strategy at risk Maximum 3% total disturbance v 5% new disturbance No State Plan can succeed if NTT is the best available science and the measuring stick Does not adequately address fire or invasive species A listing is preferable to the NTT Report

12 The outside scientists only reviewed the conservation measures section of the report and not the policy recommendations. Review: Lack of consideration of space, and particularly (in this document) time is a critical mistake that, to me, renders this document problematic, if not dangerous. Review: The document is an odd mix of scientific citations and policy decisions, with no real tie between the two…This seems a strange blend of policy loosely backed by citations, with no analysis of the science.

13 AEMA (NWMA) Report, BLMs NTT Report: Best Available Science or a Tool to Support a Pre- Determined Outcome Prepared by independent biologist Megan Maxwell National media coverage Referenced in congressional oversight hearings Cited by oil & gas trade associations in their comments Now part of the administrative record in CO, ID, MT, NV, UT & WY draft LUPAs Reveals BLM ignored existing tools like the 2004 sage brush guidance and 2008 Special Status Species Manual 6840 to create new, draconian regulatory mechanisms Misinterprets 2010 WBP determination by concluding that new regulatory mechanisms are required

14 WAFWA criticizes NTT Report Applying a one-size-fits-all approach focusing solely on the NTT report is not appropriate for management of the variations that occur across the sage-grouse range.. Our concern is that using the NTT, in vacuum, would undermine sage-grouse conservation range-wide. Dr. Rob Roy Ramey II, Wildlife Science International, Inc. reviewed the Data Quality Act issues in the NTT Report and concluded: In reality, the NTT report represents a partial presentation of scientific information to justify a narrow range of preferred conservation measures and policies that will be imposed as land use regulations by the BLM.

15 Governor Otters FOIA Request In response, after several delays and threat of litigation, BLM released over 2,000 pages of s, meeting notes and draft documents relating to the NTT Report (tip of the iceberg) Response reveals: At best, a Department divided on this issue. At worse, an effort to preclude new development on million acres of public land. NTT Report is a reversed-engineered, policy first, science second document Supports conclusions in Maxwell & Ramey papers

16 From: Dwight Fielder To: Pat Diebert, et al. Date: December 21, 2011 _______________________________________ But, does the NTT really want to recommend something that is blatantly illegal? It seems to me that the caveat provided makes it clear that the NTT document IS a technical document that has not undergone a policy or legal review.

17 From: Pat Diebert To:Dwight Fielder, et al. Date: December 21, 2011 ____________________________________________ The NTT is providing the science. That does not change with the laws that BLM works under. From: Dwight Fielder To:Raul Morales Date: December 21, 2011 ____________________________________________ I dont know how to respond to this and am thinking that I shouldnt.

18 From: Ray Brady To: Jim Perry, et al. Date: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 ____________________________________________ I have reviewed the Planning IMN Conservation Measures for the rights-of-way (ROW) activities on page of the NTT Report. These planning prescriptions will be significant game changers and unworkable in my mind for the linear ROW program, including renewable energy rights-of-way (especially wind energy program).

19 From: Tony Apa To: Christian Hagen, Steve Knick, David Naugle, Pat Diebert Date: September 12, 2011 ______________________________________________ Ive tried to identify those biological recommendations that may need a scientific citation... If we dont have the science Im assuming it will be our best professional judgment. So, if you could get each of you to take a shot and identify a research citation that supports the biological recommendation along with the full citation I would greatly appreciate the help.

20 From: Robin Sell To: Raul Morales Date: Friday, September 16, 2011 _____________________________________________________________________ Hi, Raul – My question, and maybe a suggestion... I dont feel like we really got into (or had time to discuss) the current science out there on SG (Sage-Grouse)... so I would like to propose that the researchers and biologists on the NTT – maybe a few other bios if appropriate – meet again in the next few months (maybe Nov/Dec) for about three days to have a frank discussion on various studies/papers out there... the good, bad & ugly so to speak. It would not have to hold up the current document we have worked on…The reality, the science folks were not going to have this kind of discussion with program leads in the group, and timeline did not allow this review and scrutiny. But I think this kind of full disclosure will really benefit the Bureau, FWS, and SG down the road.

21 What is the real purpose of the NTT Report? Does FWS believe these measures are necessary to preclude a listing? Not according to two FWS state supervisors Why did BLM publically release this flawed document knowing it was flawed? Why did the BLM represent to Judge Winmill that the NTT Report was the best available science? Especially when it was heavily criticized by the outside reviewers.


23 BLMs Draft LUPAS/EIS & Acres Proposed for Withdrawal per the NTT LUPAPreferred AlternativeEnvironmental/NTT AlternativeNo Action Alternative Miles City DRMP (MT)36,0001,500,00032,000 Hiline DRMP (MT)45,0001,671,20123,444 Billings/PPNM DRMP (MT)278,270913,386/278,22041,555 Bighorn Basin Draft Supplement to DRMP (WY) N/A 1,764,621 /1,529,955174,354 Northwest Colorado GSG Amendment (CO) 0 1,576, ,800 (co-located in GSG habitat) NV/NE Cal Sub-Regional GSG DLUPA 1,671,10017,732,900/13,068,2001,670,800 Idaho and Southwestern Montana Sub-Regional Greater Sage-Grouse RMP Amendment 36,600237,400 /369,60036,600 Utah Greater Sage-Grouse Draft Land Use Plan Amendment/DEIS 498,7003,650,900/4,008,580498,700 9-Plan GSG Amendment (WY) 5,002,170 1,677,420

24 From the Hiline Montana DRMP "The management of wildlife resources and habitat outside of special designations would seldom prevent locatable mineral development, but in order to avoid significant impact to wildlife, special conditions and possible relocation of exploration or mining development could occur. This relocation, as well as any additional mitigation would create time delays and further expenses for locatable mineral development if not closing the area to mineral entry through withdrawal…" The cure is worse than the disease – an endangered finding is preferable to the LUPAs Litigation is looming -- who will be plaintiffs and who will be defendant interveners

25 Not warranted? 2005 finding, but not likely now Warranted but precluded? NOT an option because USFWS agreed to eliminate this option in the behind-closed-door settlement agreement Warranted? Endangered Dan Ashe says not likely – lots of birds Threatened with a 4(d) rule Dan Ashe seems to be telegraphing this option Lesser Prairie Chicken and Bi-State Sage-grouse Restrictions can be more draconian than an endangered listing Does not alleviate §7 consultation requirement

26 If BLM preferred alternatives are implemented, the impacts on economic use of the public lands are far more onerous that an endangered finding LUPAs will be final ~ one year before listing decision No guarantee they will result in a not warranted finding Worst case scenario = LUPAs + threatened with 4(d) Species management moves from states to feds Draconian land use restrictions in place Governors plans are trumped Flexibility eliminated Economic devastation across the west

27 Megans Report debunking NTT Report Formed sage-grouse task force Building the administrative record by filing comments on draft LUPA/EIS in 7 states Preferred alternatives based on NTT report and not on the best available science and commercial data BLM/USFS exceeded their statutory authority proposing actions that fail to comply with NEPA and violate: FLPMA The General Mining Laws NFMA ESA Information (Data) Quality Act

28 Conservation measures are more draconian than restrictions from an ESA listing Elevates sage-grouse conservation above all other resources and uses in violation of FLPMA §102(12): The Congress declares that it is the policy of the United States that the public lands be managed in a manner which recognizes the Nations need for domestic sources of minerals, food, timber, and fiber from the public lands including implementation of the Mining and Minerals Policy Act of Working closely with Congressional staff Educating members & staff, providing witnesses and questions for oversight hearings Legislation to delay decision and provide states and BLM more time Working closely with WGA, governors staffs & coalition partners

29 Use the appropriations process to delay the listing decision until after October 1, 2015 PROBLEM -- Doesnt prevent BLM/USFS from imposing restrictions in LUPAs Rep. Amodei (R-NV) Sage-grouse and Endangered Species Conservation and Protection Act (H.R. 4419) Focuses on fire, invasive species and habitat restoration Sale of public land to fund habitat conservation Requires funding in place before a listing decision Extends timelines for action on listing petitions to 5 years Minimum one year public comment period

30 Reid-Heller discussion draft for Nevada WSA + sage-grouse habitat = new Wilderness dedicated to sage-grouse conservation; sale of public lands for economic development to local governments and certain industries; proceeds fund mitigation bank, fire suppression, habitat restoration LUPAs will dictate activity in sage-grouse habitat outside of Wilderness Very little on-the-ground support in northern Nevada No guarantee re listing decision Not supported in the House

31 Take away messages: A LISTING IS PREFERABLE TO THE PROPOSED LAND USE PLAN AMENDMENTS SUPPORT A FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE SOLUTIONthe only way to stop the LUPAs Proposed restrictions on use are worse than a listing GET INVOLVED! SUPPORT YOUR GOVERNORS PLAN! Join with other public & private land user groups strength in numbers

32 Thank you!

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