Legislation

Jul 08 2014

S. 2566

Official Short: Nevada Mining Townsite Conveyance Act

Long Title: A bill to provide for the conveyance of certain public land in and around historic mining townsites located in the State of Nevada, and for other purposes.

Sponsors: Mr. Heller and Mr. Reid.

STATUS:

  • July 8, 2014.--Introduced.

S.2566

Nevada Mining Townsite Conveyance Act (Introduced in Senate - IS)

S 2566 IS

113th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 2566

To provide for the conveyance of certain public land in and around historic mining townsites located in the State of Nevada, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
July 8, 2014

Mr. HELLER (for himself and Mr. REID) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


A BILL

To provide for the conveyance of certain public land in and around historic mining townsites located in the State of Nevada, and for other purposes.

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 `Nevada Mining Townsite Conveyance Act'.

SEC. 2. DISPOSAL OF PUBLIC LAND IN MINING TOWNSITES, ESMERALDA, NYE, AND STOREY COUNTIES, NEVADA.

    (a) Findings- Congress finds that--
      (1) the Federal Government owns real property in and around historic mining townsites in the counties of Esmeralda, Nye, and Storey in the State of Nevada;
      (2) while the real property described in paragraph (1) is under the jurisdiction of the Secretary, some of the real property has been occupied for decades by individuals--
        (A) who took possession by purchase or other documented and putatively legal transactions; and
        (B) the continued occupation by whom constitutes a trespass on the title held by the Federal Government;
      (3) as a result of the confused and conflicting ownership claims, the real property described in paragraph (1)--
        (A) is difficult to manage under multiple use policies; and
        (B) creates a continuing source of friction and unease between the Federal Government and local residents;
      (4)(A) all of the real property described in paragraph (1) is appropriate for disposal for the purpose of promoting administrative efficiency and effectiveness; and
      (B) as of the date of enactment of this Act, the Bureau of Land Management has identified the mining townsites for disposal; and
      (5) to promote the responsible resource management of the real property described in paragraph (1), certain parcels should be conveyed to the county in which the property is situated in accordance with land use management plans of the Bureau of Land Management so that the county may, in addition to other actions, dispose of the property to individuals residing on or otherwise occupying the real property.
    (b) Definitions- In this Act:
      (1) CONVEYANCE MAPS- The term `conveyance maps' means--
        (A) the map entitled `Original Mining Townsite Ione Nevada' and dated October 17, 2005;
        (B) the map entitled `Original Mining Townsite Gold Point' and dated October 17, 2005; and
        (C) the map entitled `Restoring Storey County Act' and dated November 20, 2012.
      (2) MINING TOWNSITE- The term `mining townsite' means real property--
        (A) located in the Gold Point, Ione, Gold Hill, and Virginia City townsites within the counties of Esmeralda, Nye, and Storey, Nevada, as depicted on the conveyance maps;
        (B) that is owned by the Federal Government; and
        (C) on which improvements were constructed based on the belief that--
          (i) the property had been or would be acquired from the Federal Government by the entity that operated the mine; or
          (ii) the individual or entity that made the improvement had a valid claim for acquiring the property from the Federal Government.
        (D) SECRETARY- The term `Secretary' means the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Land Management.
    (c) Mining Claim Validity Review-
      (1) IN GENERAL- As soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall carry out an expedited program to examine each unpatented mining claim (including each unpatented mining claim for which a patent application has been filed) within each mining townsite.
      (2) DETERMINATION OF VALIDITY- With respect to a mining claim, if the Secretary determines that the elements of a contest are present, the Secretary shall immediately determine the validity of the mining claim.
      (3) DECLARATION BY SECRETARY- If the Secretary determines a mining claim to be invalid, as soon as practicable after the date of the determination, the Secretary shall declare the mining claim to be null and void.
      (4) TREATMENT OF VALID MINING CLAIMS-
        (A) IN GENERAL- Each mining claim that the Secretary determines to be valid shall be maintained in compliance with the general mining laws and subsection (d)(2)(B).
        (B) EFFECT ON HOLDERS- A holder of a mining claim described in subparagraph (A) shall not be entitled to a patent.
      (5) ABANDONMENT OF CLAIM- The Secretary shall provide--
        (A) public notice that each mining claim holder may affirmatively abandon the claim of the mining claim holder prior to the validity review; and
        (B) to each mining claim holder an opportunity to abandon the claim of the mining claim holder before the date on which the land that is subject to the mining claim is conveyed.
    (d) Conveyance Authority-
      (1) IN GENERAL- After completing a validity review under subsection (c), notwithstanding sections 202 and 203 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1712, 1713) and subject to the agreement of the county, the Secretary shall convey to the appropriate county, without consideration, all right, title, and interest of the United States in and to the mining townsites (including improvements on the mining townsites)--
        (A) identified for conveyance on the conveyance maps; and
        (B) that are not subject to valid mining claims.
      (2) VALID MINING CLAIMS-
        (A) IN GENERAL- With respect to each parcel of land located in a mining townsite subject to a valid mining claim, the Secretary shall reserve the mineral rights and otherwise convey, without consideration, the remaining right, title, and interest of the United States in and to the mining townsite (including improvements on the mining townsite) that is identified for conveyance on a conveyance map.
        (B) PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS- Each valid mining claim shall be subject to each procedure and requirement described in section 9 of the Act of December 29, 1916 (43 U.S.C. 299) (commonly known as the `Stockraising Homestead Act of 1916') (including regulations).
      (3) AVAILABILITY OF CONVEYANCE MAPS- The conveyance maps shall be on file and available for public inspection in the appropriate offices of the Bureau of Land Management.
    (e) Recipients-
      (1) ORIGINAL RECIPIENT- Subject to paragraph (2), the conveyance of a mining townsite under subsection (d) shall be made to the county in which the mining townsite is situated.
      (2) RECONVEYANCE TO OCCUPANTS-
        (A) IN GENERAL- In the case of a mining townsite conveyed under subsection (d) for which a valid interest is proven by 1 or more individuals, under the provisions of Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 244, the county that receives the mining townsite under paragraph (1) shall reconvey the property to the 1 or more individuals by appropriate deed or other legal conveyance as provided in that chapter.
        (B) AUTHORITY OF COUNTY- A county described in subparagraph (A) is not required to recognize a claim under this paragraph that is submitted on a date that is later than 5 years after the date of enactment of this Act.
    (f) Valid Existing Rights- The conveyance of a mining townsite under subsection (d) shall be subject to valid existing rights, including any easement or other right-of-way or lease in existence as of the date of the conveyance.
    (g) Withdrawals- Subject to valid rights in existence on the date of enactment of this Act, and except as otherwise provided in this Act, the mining townsites are withdrawn from--
      (1) all forms of entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land laws;
      (2) location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and
      (3) disposition under all laws pertaining to mineral and geothermal leasing or mineral materials.
    (h) Survey- A mining townsite to be conveyed by the United States under subsection (d) shall be sufficiently surveyed as a whole to legally describe the land for patent conveyance.
    (i) Conveyance of Terminated Mining Claims- If a mining claim determined by the Secretary to be valid under subsection (c) is abandoned, invalidated, or otherwise returned to the Bureau of Land Management, the mining claim shall be--
      (1) withdrawn in accordance with subsection (g); and
      (2) subject to the agreement of the owner, conveyed to the owner of the surface rights covered by the mining claim.
    (j) Release- On completion of the conveyance of a mining townsite under subsection (d), the United States shall be relieved from liability for, and shall be held harmless from, any and all claims arising from the presence of improvements and materials on the conveyed property.
      (k) Deadline for Review and Conveyances- It is the sense of Congress that the examination of the unpatented mining claims under subsection (c) and the conveyances under subsection (d) should be completed not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act.