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Bureau of Land Management
For Release: Thursday, October 25, 2001

BLM's Amended "3809" Surface Mining Regulations Fact Sheet
Larry Finfer
Bob Anderson

BLM To Retain Key Hardrock Mining Rule Provisions

The Bureau of Land Management announced that it will publish a final rule in the Federal Register on October 30, 2001, to modify the agency's "3809" surface mining regulations, enhancing the BLM's ability to protect the environment, public land resources, and public health.

"This final rule will safeguard our environment while continuing to ensure a reliable and affordable supply of minerals that are important to our economy and security," said BLM Acting Director Nina Rose Hatfield.

The final rule, which takes effect December 31, 2001, removes several unduly burdensome provisions of the current mining regulations while retaining most of its provisions. The BLM will also publish a proposed rule to give the public an additional opportunity to comment on the new regulations, as well as on additional issues related to the regulation of hardrock mining operations.

The current mining rule, which became effective January 20, 2001 (subsequent to its publication on November 21, 2000), will continue to provide the regulatory framework governing mining, as amended by today's action. The BLM is amending the regulations by removing certain provisions and reinstating other provisions that were in effect on January 19, 2001.

"The approach that we are taking today reflects the support that exists for the current rule's framework, while addressing the significant concerns that have been raised regarding the unnecessary burdens imposed by that rule," Hatfield said.

BLM's revised regulations achieve three fundamental objectives; (1) protection of public health, public land resources, and the environment; (2) assurance that mining operators, rather than the nation's taxpayers, bear the costs of reclaiming mined lands; (3) ensuring reliable supply of strategic minerals. Key elements of the revised regulations include:

Copies of the final 3809 rule and proposed rule can be obtained from any of the BLM's State Offices or accessed from the Bureau's national Internet web site ( or the Federal Register web site (

The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages more land 264 million surface acres than any other Federal agency. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, which gave the BLM its comprehensive mission to manage the public lands for a variety of uses so as to benefit present and future generations. The BLM accomplishes this by managing for such resources as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, and mineral development, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on the public lands. Most of the country's BLM-managed public land is located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, which has a budget of $1.8 billion and a workforce of about 9,000 employees, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the Nation.