Use and Occupancy Under the Mining Laws
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43 CFR 3715 Use and Occupancy Page 2
e. Standards Applicable to Use or Occupancy
- Use or Occupancy must be reasonably incident. “Unnecessary or undue degradation” of the public lands and resources must be prevented or avoided in all uses and occupancies.
- Uses must conform to all applicable Federal and State environmental standards and all required permits must have been obtained before beginning, as required under 43 CFR part 3800. This means getting permits and authorizations and meeting standards required by State and Federal law, including, but not limited to, the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.), Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.), and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.), as required under 43 CFR part 3800.
- Occupancies must conform to all applicable Federal and State environmental standards and all required permits must have been obtained before beginning, as required under this subpart and 43 CFR part 3800. This means obtaining permits and authorizations and meeting standards required by State and Federal law; including, but not limited to, the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.), Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.), and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.), as required under this subpart and 43 CFR part 3800.
- If surface activities involve only prospecting or exploration activities, permanent structures must not be placed on the public lands. Any temporary structures placed on the public lands during prospecting or exploration will be allowed only for the duration of the activities, unless the BLM expressly and in writing allows them to remain longer. If prospecting or exploration activities involve subsurface activities, permanent structures may be placed on the public lands, if the BLM concurs.
- All permanent and temporary structures placed on the public lands must conform with applicable State or local building, fire, and electrical codes and occupational safety and health and mine safety standards. If State or local codes require a certificate of occupancy or its equivalent, it must be obtained before use or occupancy is begun involving permanent structures. If required by State or local law, appropriate sewerage and sanitation permits must also be acquired before the occupancy or use of a permanent structure placed on the public lands.
f. Standards Applicable to Ending Use or Occupancy
Unless the BLM expressly allows them in writing to remain on the public lands, all permanent structures, temporary structures, material, equipment, or other personal property placed on the public lands during authorized use or occupancy must be removed. The BLM allows 90 days after operations end to remove these items. If the BLM concurs in writing, this provision will not apply to seasonal operations that are temporarily suspended for less than one year and expected to continue during the next operating season or to operations that are suspended for no longer than one year due to market or labor conditions.
g. Abandoned Property
Any property left on the public lands beyond the 90-day period described in §3715.5–1 becomes the property of the United States and is subject to removal and disposition at the BLM's discretion consistent with applicable laws and regulations. The claimant/operator/occupant is liable for the costs the BLM incurs in removing and disposing of the property.
h. Prohibited Uses and Occupancies
Except where other applicable laws or regulations allow, the BLM prohibits the following:
- placing, constructing, maintaining, or using residences or structures for occupancy not meeting:
- the conditions of occupancy under §§3715.2 or 3715.2–1 or
- any of the standards of occupancy under §3715.5.
- beginning occupancy before the filing, review, and approval or modification of a plan of operation as required under 43 CFR part 3800, subparts 3802 or 3809;
- beginning occupancy before consultation with the BLM as required by §3715.3 for activities that do not require a plan of operations under 43 CFR part 3800, subpart 3802, or that are defined as casual use or notice activities under 43 CFR part 3800, subpart 3809;
- beginning occupancy without receiving a determination of concurrence because the proposed occupancy or fencing will not conform to the provisions of §3715.2, §3715.2–1, or §3715.5;
- not complying with any order issued under this subpart within the time frames the order provides;
- preventing or obstructing free passage, use, or transit over or through the public lands by force, threats, or intimidation; provided, however, that reasonable security and safety measures in accordance with this subpart are allowed;
- placing, constructing, or maintaining enclosures, gates, fences, or signs intended to exclude the general public without the BLM’s concurrence;
- causing a fire or safety hazard or creating a public nuisance;
- not complying with the notification and other requirements under §3715.4 relating to an existing occupancy; and
- conducting activities on the public lands that are not reasonably incident; including, but not limited to: non-mining related habitation, cultivation, animal maintenance or pasturage, and development of small trade or manufacturing concerns; storage, treatment, processing, or disposal of non-mineral, hazardous, or toxic materials or waste that is generated elsewhere and brought onto the public lands; recycling or reprocessing of manufactured material such as scrap electronic parts, appliances, photographic film, and chemicals; searching for buried treasure, treasure trove, or archaeological specimens; and operating hobby and curio shops, cafes, tourist stands, and hunting and fishing camps.