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H.R. 520 (115th): National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Apr 11, 2018.

National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act

This bill addresses the mine permitting process.

Under the bill, projects that provide minerals vital to job creation, energy infrastructure, American economic competitiveness, and national security must be considered to be "infrastructure projects" as described in Executive Order 13604, entitled "Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects" dated March 22, 2012.This order directed federal agencies to significantly reduce the time required to make permitting and review decisions on infrastructure projects.

The bill sets forth general requirements for an existing mineral exploration or mine permit application.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)or the Forest Service shall appoint a project lead for the mine permitting process to coordinate with other agencies to ensure that the agencies: minimize delays, set and adhere to timelines for completion of the permitting process, set clear permitting goals, and track progress against goals.

The requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969are satisfied if the BLM or the Forest Service determines that the agency issuing the permit will address specified factors, such as environmental impact, alternatives to issuance of the permit, or any irreversible and irretrievable commitment of resources that would be involved in the proposed action. The time period for completion of the mine permitting review process shall not exceed 30 months, except by mutual agreement.

Projects on National Forest System land shall be exempt from regulations that prohibit timber tree cutting and road construction in areas without roads.

The bill does not apply to oil, gas, and potash leasing and development within the designated potash areas of Eddy and Lea Counties, New Mexico.