< Back to H.R. 4961 (103rd Congress, 1993–1994)

Text of the Coeur d’Alene Basin and Spokane River Restoration Act of 1994

This bill was introduced on August 12, 1994, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Aug 12, 1994 (Introduced).

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HR 4961 IH

103d CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4961

To establish the Coeur d’Alene Basin Restoration Corporation and authorize the Corporation to undertake all actions necessary for the cleanup of mining wastes and the restoration of natural resources in the watershed encompassing the Coeur d’Alene River, Coeur d’Alene Lake, and its tributaries, and the Spokane River in northern Idaho and western Washington.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

August 12, 1994

Mr. LAROCCO introduced the following bill; which was referred jointly to the Committees on Natural Resources, Energy and Commerce, and Public Works and Transportation


A BILL

To establish the Coeur d’Alene Basin Restoration Corporation and authorize the Corporation to undertake all actions necessary for the cleanup of mining wastes and the restoration of natural resources in the watershed encompassing the Coeur d’Alene River, Coeur d’Alene Lake, and its tributaries, and the Spokane River in northern Idaho and western Washington.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Coeur d’Alene Basin and Spokane River Restoration Act of 1994’.

SEC. 2. PURPOSES.

    It is the purpose of this Act--

      (1) to provide for the conservation, remediation, and restoration of the Coeur d’Alene Basin and Spokane River watersheds to the extent necessary to repair and mitigate damages caused by mining wastes generated in the Coeur d’Alene Basin, and to enhance the resources of the Coeur d’Alene Basin and Spokane River;

      (2) to create the Coeur d’Alene Basin Restoration Corporation and to authorize it to carry out the purposes of the Act; and

      (3) to authorize the funds necessary to implement the provisions of this Act.

SEC. 3. COEUR D’ALENE BASIN RESTORATION CORPORATION.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT OF CORPORATION- There is authorized to be established a nonprofit corporation, to be known as the ‘Coeur d’Alene Basin Restoration Corporation’, which (1) shall have its offices in the Coeur d’Alene Basin, (2) shall carry out its functions and responsibilities in accordance with the provisions of this Act, (3) shall continue in force and effect in accordance with the provisions of this Act, and (4) will not be considered an agency or establishment of the United States Government for the purpose of any Federal law.

    (b) BOARD OF DIRECTORS- (1) The Corporation shall have a Board of Directors (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the ‘Board’) consisting of 5 members: one to be appointed by the State of Idaho; one to be appointed by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe; one to be appointed by the trustees established pursuant to the settlement agreement of May 31, 1986, entered in State of Idaho v. Bunker Hill Co. et al., Case No. 83-3161 (D. Idaho); one to be appointed jointly by the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior, as trustees of Federal natural resources within the Coeur D’Alene Basin; and one to be appointed by the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The appointments shall be made in accordance with the particular laws governing the actions of the State, the Tribe, and the United States.

    (2) Each member of the Board shall serve for a term of 3 years. The members of the Board shall elect from among themselves a chairman. The appointment as chairman shall be for the term of one year, and shall be rotated equally among the members of the Board. The compensation of the members shall be fixed by the Board. The members of the Board shall not be deemed to be officers or employees of the United States for any purpose: Provided, That Board members appointed by the Administrator, the Secretary of Agriculture, or the Secretary of the Interior may be officers or employees of the United States. The Board may indemnify its officers, attorneys, agents, and employees for liabilities and expenses incurred in connection with the individuals’ corporate activities.

    (3) All actions and decisions of the Board shall be made by consensus of the 5 members of the Board. The Board shall meet at the call of the Chairman or upon request of any 3 members of the Board.

    (4) The Board shall adopt and, as appropriate, amend or repeal, appropriate procedures governing the manner in which its corporate business may be conducted, including but not limited to the appointment of corporate officers, fixing compensation, assigning and delegating duties to corporate personnel. The Board shall make available to the public a statement of its organization, practices, and procedures.

    (5) As necessary to effectuate the purposes of this Act, the Board, without regard to Federal laws governing reduction of paperwork, acquisition of property and administrative services, gifts, or public buildings, may (A) acquire real property, including but not limited to patents and proprietary data, as necessary in the transaction of its business; (B) sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of real and personal property; (C) enter into contracts, agreements, and other arrangements, including financial assistance for professional services, supplies, construction, maintenance, management, and operation of equipment; (D) accept gifts and donations of services and property including, but not limited to, the use, possession, and control of real or personal property of the United States that the President considers necessary for achieving the purposes of this Act and transfers to the Board; and (E) conduct surveys, collect information, and otherwise monitor activities.

    (6) The Board may sue, and may be sued as expressly provided in this Act, and shall be represented by its own attorneys in all judicial and administrative proceedings and, in any such proceedings, the Board shall have exclusive authority to direct its corporate attorneys in the discharge of their duties. In any court suit or action to which the Corporation is a party, monetary damages shall be the sole and exclusive remedy available against the Corporation and, in the event of any judgment against or settlement involving the Corporation, such judgment may only be paid from the Corporation’s appropriated funds. The Board may use binding arbitration or other dispute resolution processes and may settle or adjust any corporate claims or contractual obligations without review or approval of the Attorney General of the United States. Notwithstanding any other law, the courts of the United States shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all civil actions by or against the Corporation, provided the Corporation may intervene in any court in any suit, action, or proceeding in which it has an interest. The Board may exempt information from mandatory release under the Federal law if it determines that the information if publicly released would harm the Corporation’s interests.

    (c) FINANCIAL STATEMENTS- The Corporation shall prepare annual financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and shall be audited annually by an independent certified public accountant chosen by the Board. The Comptroller General, auditor for the State of Idaho, and/or auditor for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe may review any audit and may report to the Board, as well as the Congress, on the results of such reviews, including appropriate recommendations, if any, if a report, provided that neither the Comptroller General, the auditor for the State of Idaho and auditor for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe shall not have authority to withhold from the Corporation or impound any funds provided under this Act.

    (d) GENERAL PROVISIONS- (1) The Board shall have no power to issue any shares of stock, or to declare or pay any dividends.

    (2) No part of the income of assets of the Corporation shall inure to the benefit of the members of the Board, any employee of the Corporation, or any other individual except as salary or reasonable compensation for services.

    (3) The Corporation may not contribute to or otherwise support any political party or candidate for elective public office.

    (4) The Board shall make annual reports to Congress on the status of the Restoration Plan and its implementation.

SEC. 4. COEUR D’ALENE BASIN ADVISORY COMMITTEE.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT- In conjunction with the Board, there shall be established an advisory group known as the ‘Coeur d’Alene Basin Advisory Committee’, which shall have the function and responsibility of advising the Board in its actions. The Advisory Committee shall not be considered an agency or instrumentality of the United States for the purpose of any Federal law. The membership of the Advisory Committee, as determined appropriate by the Board, may consist of the following members: (1) a representative of the Washington Department of Ecology; (2) a representative of each interested Federal agency; (3) a representative of each interested State agency; (4) a representative of each interested tribal agency; (5) a representative of each affected local government; (6) representatives of affected industries within the Coeur d’Alene Basin or Spokane River drainage; and (7) representatives of the general public.

    (b) MEMBERSHIP- The members of the Advisory Committee shall be appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the Board. The members of the Advisory Committee shall appoint a chairman from among their members. The appointment as chairman shall be for the term of one year, and shall be rotated equally among the members of the Committee. The members of the Advisory Committee shall serve without compensation. The members of the Advisory Committee shall not be deemed to be officers or employees of the United States for any purpose: Provided, That members appointed by any Federal agency may be officers or employees of the United States.

    (c) GENERAL PROVISIONS- The Advisory Committee shall meet at the call of the chairman of the Advisory Committee, the call of the Board, or at the request of a majority of the members of the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee shall determine its organization and prescribe its practices and procedures for carrying out its functions and responsibilities under this Act. The Advisory Committee shall make available to the public a statement of its organization, practices, and procedures.

SEC. 5. ADVISORY GROUPS.

    In addition to the Advisory Committee, the Board may create such technical advisory groups as it deems necessary or prudent to assist the Board in the fulfillment of its duties under this Act. Members of technical advisory groups shall serve without compensation, and shall not be deemed to be officers or employees of the United States for any purpose: Provided, That members appointed by any Federal agency may be officers or employees of the United States.

SEC. 6. BASIN RESTORATION PLAN.

    (a) PREPARATION- Within 5 years after the Corporation is established, the Board shall prepare and adopt a Basin Restoration Plan. The plan shall set forth a comprehensive strategic plan of action for the protection of human health and welfare and the restoration and enhancement of land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, water, ground water, drinking water supplies, and other such resources within the Coeur d’Alene Basin and the Spokane River. The plan shall (1) identify all existing point and nonpoint sources of mining waste discharges and other pollution discharges into the waters of the Coeur d’Alene Basin and the Spokane River; (2) inventory existing projects and activities intended to restore, remediate, or prevent damages from mining waste pollution and other pollution; and (3) identify additional projects needed to restore, remediate, or prevent damages from mining waste pollution and other pollution within the Coeur d’Alene Basin and the Spokane River.

    (b) EXISTING STUDIES AND PLANS- The Board shall use and incorporate existing studies and plans prepared by State, tribal and Federal agencies for the restoration of the Coeur d’Alene Basin and the Spokane River to the extent that it is practicable to do so.

    (c) IMPLEMENTATION OF BASIN RESTORATION PLAN-

      (1) The Board shall arrange for the coordinated implementation of the plan by the State, tribal, Federal, and private parties participating in the Advisory Committee.

      (2) The Board may make grants to State, tribal, Federal, and private parties for the purposes of implementing the plan.

      (3) The Board may directly implement the plan using Corporation employees or independent contractors.

      (4) Nothing in this section is intended to prevent the implementation of ongoing projects by other agencies or parties to restore, remediate, or prevent damages from mining wastes and other pollutants in the Coeur d’Alene Basin and the Spokane River. Nor is this section intended to prevent the Board from implementing restoration projects on an interim basis prior to completion of the plan.

      (5) The Board shall monitor the effectiveness of actions taken pursuant to the plan, and modify the plan where necessary or appropriate.

      (6) The Board shall have authority to enter into such joint power agreements with State, tribal, and Federal governments as are necessary to implement the Basin Restoration Plan.

    (d) APPLICATION OF LIABILITY AND PERMITTING REQUIREMENTS-

      (1) This Act expressly preempts any conflicting Federal, State, or local laws, and in preparing and implementing the plan, the Corporation shall be exempt from any liability for the costs of removing or remediating releases of hazardous materials, or for damages to natural resources caused by the release of hazardous materials, including but not limited to the liability provisions of section 9607 of title 42 of the United States Code, and any amending or successor legislation.

      (2) No Federal, State, tribal, or local permit shall be required for any project conducted under the authorities of this Act for the purpose of implementing the restoration plan prepared by the Board.

      (3) No project shall proceed under the authorities of this Act, until the Board determines that the project meets all standards, requirements, criteria, or limitations under all Federal environmental laws, including, but not limited to, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Solid Waste Disposal Act. In addition, the Board must determine that the project meets or exceeds all standards, requirements, criteria, or limitations under all applicable State and tribal environmental or facility siting laws if such laws are more stringent than the Federal standards, requirements, criteria, or limitations.

    (e) PUBLIC INFORMATION AND CONSULTATION- The Board shall maintain comprehensive programs to inform the general public of its actions, and to solicit public comment in the preparation, adoption, and implementation of the restoration plan.

    (f) COOPERATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES- The Board shall coordinate its actions in the preparation and implementation of the plan with other agencies empowered by State, tribal, or Federal governments to restore, remediate, or prevent damages from mining wastes or other pollutants within the Coeur d’Alene Basin and Spokane River.

SEC. 7. FUNDING OF COEUR D’ALENE BASIN RESTORATION CORPORATION AND AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The activities of the Corporation shall be jointly funded through a combination of congressional appropriations and private contributions from companies that have been involved with mining activities in the Coeur d’Alene Basin.

    (b) TRUST FUND- There is created on the books of the Treasury of the United States a trust fund to be known as the ‘Coeur d’Alene Basin Restoration Fund’, which shall be administered by the Board. The Fund shall consist of (1) amounts appropriated by Congress pursuant to this Act, (2) amounts contributed by the mining companies of the Coeur d’Alene Basin pursuant to this Act, and (3) any interest accruing from monies deposited into the Coeur d’Alene Basin Restoration Fund. Moneys in the trust fund may be used to fulfill the purposes of this Act, and shall be available only when appropriated therefor. Funds authorized under this Act shall remain available until expended.

    (c) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There is authorized to be appropriated to the Coeur d’Alene Basin Restoration Fund such sums as may be necessary.

SEC. 8. SATISFACTION OR OFFSET AGAINST MINING COMPANIES LIABILITY.

    (a) SATISFACTION OF LIABILITIES- It is Congress’ intent that the mining companies of the Coeur d’Alene Basin that contributed to the release of hazardous materials in the Coeur d’Alene Basin and Spokane River should contribute a fair portion of the cost of restoring natural resources in the Coeur d’Alene Basin and Spokane River. It is also Congress’ intent that the mining companies of the Coeur d’Alene Basin should, upon payment of a fair contribution, be assured that no further liability for response costs or natural resource damages may be imposed upon them. Therefore, provided that the mining companies of the Coeur d’Alene Basin contribute an amount calculated to be the equivalent of 25 percent of the total amount authorized by Congress pursuant to section 7(c), the companies shall be deemed to have satisfied all liabilities for response costs or natural resource damages within the Coeur d’Alene Basin and Spokane River that may otherwise be imposed on them under the terms of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, and any amending or successor legislation.

    (b) OFFSET- If the mining companies of the Coeur d’Alene Basin contribute an amount calculated to be less than 25 percent of the total amount appropriated by Congress pursuant to section 7(c), the companies shall be granted an offset for such amount against liabilities for response costs or natural resource damages within the Coeur d’Alene Basin and Spokane River that may otherwise be imposed on them under the terms of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, and any amending or successor legislation.

    (c) ACTIONS UNDER CERCLA- Unless the companies satisfy their liabilities pursuant to subsection (a), the Corporation, the State, the tribe, and the United States may pursue all actions otherwise available to these entities under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 and any amending or successor legislation regardless of whether some or all of the Basin Restoration Plan is implemented in whole or part and such actions shall not constitute a double recovery. The companies shall be entitled to an offset to the extent provided by subsection (b).

    (d) STATUTES OF LIMITATION- All applicable statutes of limitation for cost recovery and natural resource damage actions against the mining companies of the Coeur d’Alene Basin are tolled until January 1, 2018.

SEC. 9. DISSOLUTION OF CORPORATION.

    Upon completion of the implementation of the restoration plan, the Board shall prepare a report to Congress describing the actions taken during its existence, and recommending further actions that may be needed to protect human health and welfare and water quality, natural resources, and fish and wildlife habitat within the Coeur d’Alene Basin and the Spokane River. Upon submission of the report, the existence of the Corporation shall terminate unless Congress takes further action to reauthorize the Corporation. In no case shall the Corporation continue to exist more than 20 years after the enactment of this Act into law.

SEC. 10. DEFINITIONS.

    For purposes of this Act:

      (1) The term ‘mining companies of the Coeur d’Alene Basin’ means Gulf Resources and Chemical Corporation; Bunker Limited Partnership; Minerals Corporation Idaho; Bunker Hill Mining Company (U.S.) Inc.; BH Properties, Inc.; Hecla Mining Company; Stauffer Chemical Company; Asarco, Inc.; Callahan Mining Corporation; Coeur d’Alene Mines Corporation; Highland Surprise Consolidated-Mining Company; Silver Bowl, Inc.; Sunshine Precious Metals, Inc.; Union Pacific Railroad; Abot Mining Company; American Silver Mining Company; Anaconda Mining Company; Atlas Mining Company; Boulder Creek Mining Company; Canyon Silver Mine, Inc.; Consolidated Silver Corp.; Day Mines, Inc.; Dix Steel Company; Douglas Mining Company; CDA Crescent Mining Company; Lovon Fausett; Broyles Bros. Drilling; Gold Leaf Mining Corp.; Helena Silver Mines; Highland Surprise; Hypothek Mining Co.; Mascot Silver-Lead; Nabob Silver Lead Mines; Nevada Stewart Mining Co.; New Hilarity Mining Co.; Sidney Mining Co.; Sunshine Mining Co.; and their successors and assigns.

      (2) The term ‘Coeur d’Alene Basin’ means the watershed in northern Idaho containing the South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River, the mainstem of the Coeur d’Alene River, and Lake Coeur d’Alene.

      (3) The term ‘Spokane River’ means the Spokane River from its origin at Lake Coeur d’Alene in northern Idaho to its confluence with the Columbia River in eastern Washington.

SEC. 11. STATUTORY INTERPRETATION.

    Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to diminish or enlarge the jurisdiction or powers of any department or agency of the United States, any State, or any Indian Tribe. Nothing in this Act shall be interpreted as authorizing the Corporation to assume authority over existing or future remedial actions within the approximately 21-square-mile facility known as the Bunker Hill National Priority List Superfund Site, nor shall it be interpreted as affecting any liability of the mining companies of the Coeur d’Alene Basin for such remedial actions. Nothing in this Act shall be interpreted as releasing the mining companies of the Coeur d’Alene Basin from liability for any releases of hazardous materials that may occur as the result of future acts or events, nor shall any money appropriated under the authorities of this Act be used to clean up, remove, or remediate such releases. The release of the mining companies of the Coeur d’Alene Basin from liability extends only to releases of hazardous materials prior to the date of this Act or continuing and future releases that may occur as the result of activities occurring prior to the date of this Act.