U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Feb 19, 2020
(a) The authorized officer shall promptly aknowledge the receipt of a plan of operations and within 30 days of receipt of the plan act on the plan of operations to determine its acceptability.
(b) The authorized officer shall review the plan of operations to determine if the operations are impairing the suitability of the area for preservation as wilderness. Pending approval of the plan of operations, mining operations may continue in a manner that minimizes environmental impacts as prescribed in § 3802.3 of this title. After completing the review of the plan of operations, the authorized officer shall give the operator written notice that:
(1) The plan is approved subject to measures that will prevent the impairment of the suitability of the area for preservation as wilderness as determined by the authorized officer;
(2) Plans covering operations on a claim with a valid existing right are approved subject to measures that will prevent undue and unnecessary degradation of the area; or
(3) The anticipated impacts of the mining operations are such that all or part of further operations will impair the suitability of the area for preservation as wilderness, the plan is disapproved and continuance of such operations is not allowed.
(c) Upon receipt of a plan of operations for mining activities commencing after the effective date of these regulations, the authorized officer may notify the operator, in writing, that:
(1) In an area of lands under wilderness review where an inventory has not been completed, an operator may agree to operate under a plan of operations that includes terms and conditions that would be applicable in a wilderness study area. Without an agreement to this effect, no action may be taken on the plan until a wilderness inventory is completed;
(2) The area has been inventoried and a final decision has been issued and become effective that the area does not contain wilderness characteristics, and that the mining operations are no longer subject to these regulations; or
(3) The anticipated impacts are such that all or part of the proposed mining operations will impair the suitability of the area for preservation as wilderness, and therefore, the proposed mining operation cannot be allowed.
(d) In addition to paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section, the following general plan approval procedures may also apply. The authorized officer may notify the operator, in writing, that:
(1) The plan of operations is unacceptable and the reasons therefore;
(2) Modification of the plan of operations is necessary to meet the requirements of these regulations;
(3) The plan of operations is being reviewed, but that more time, not to exceed an additional 60 days, is necessary to complete such review, setting forth the reasons why additional time is needed except in those instances where it is determined that an Environmental Impact Statement, compliance with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) or section 7 of the Endangered Species Act is needed. Periods during which the area of operations is inaccessible for inspection due to climatic conditions, fire hazards or other physical conditions or legal impediments, shall not be included when counting the 60 calendar day period; or
(4) The proposed operations do not require a plan of operations.
(e) If the authorized officer does not notify the operator of any action on the plan of operations within the 30-day period, or the 60-day extension, or notify the operator of the need for an Environmental Impact Statement or compliance with section 106 of NHPA or section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, operations under the plan may begin. The option to begin operations under this section does not constitute approval of a plan of operations. However, if the authorized officer at a later date finds that operations under the plan are impairing wilderness suitability, the authorized officer shall notify the operator that the operations are not in compliance with these regulations and what changes are needed, and shall require the operator to submit a modified plan of operations, within a time specified in the notice. If the operator is notified of the need for an Environmental Impact Statement, the plan of operations shall not be approved before 30 days after a final statement is prepared and filed with the Environmental Protection Agency. If the is operator notified of the need for compliance with section 106 of the NHPA or section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, the plan of operations shall not be approved until the compliance responsibilities of the Bureau of Land Management are satisfied.
(f) If cultural resource properties listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places are within the area of operations, no operations which would affect those resources shall be approved until compliance with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act is accomplished. The operator is not required to do or to pay for an inventory. The responsibility and cost of the cultural resource mitigation, except as provided in § 3802.3-2(f) of this title, included in an approved plan of operation shall be the operator's.
(g) Pending final approval of the plan of operations, the authorized officer may approve any operations that may be necessary for timely compliance with requirements of Federal and State laws. Such operations shall be conducted so as to prevent impairment of wilderness suitability and to minimize environmental impacts as prescribed by the authorized officer in accordance with the standards contained in § 3802.3 of this title.