1:08 PM EDT

Nick Joe Rahall, D-WV 3rd

Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, following 2 days of committee consideration of the bill during which the committee debated 25 amendments, we continued a dialogue with several members of the committee, both sides of the aisle, Democrat and Republican, in order to further perfect the underlying legislation and to keep the fairness of the process open.

This manager's amendment is a result of those deliberations. In summary, the manager's amendment would, one, clarify that valid existing rights associated with existing mining claims would be protected under the act.

Number two, this amendment clarifies that, in addition to paying a 4 percent royalty, existing operations would still need to come into compliance with the act within 10 years.

Number three, this amendment clarifies that the claim maintenance and location fees currently allotted to the administration of the mining claims will continue to be so allotted with the balance going to cleanup of abandoned hardrock mines.

In addition, in this amendment, as requested by the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Lamborn), user fees assessed by the BLM to process mining permit applications would be used for administration of the mining law program.

The manager's amendment would further limit the purview of section 504 citizen suits to permits issued pursuant to title III of the act as suggested by Mr. Cannon of Utah.

The manager's amendment would clarify that nothing under this act will affect the sovereign immunity of any Indian tribe.

That concludes the summary explanation of the manager's amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I urge an ``aye'' vote.

I reserve the balance of my time.