Environmental Regulation and the Minerals Industry

Gulley, David A. ; Vogely, William A.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 14
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1985
INTRODUCTION The Scope of the Chapter This chapter discusses environmental regulation and closely-related public policies associated with mineral development in the United States. This chapter outlines the nature, extent, and amelioration of secondary effects of mineral development. It sketches the policy foundations of regulation; discusses the implementation of environmental law; describes land use conflicts and land management regimes; and surveys the costs and benefits of environmental regulation. Since regulations are subject to frequent change, the chapter emphasizes basic factual and conceptual material, rather than specific regulations. The goal is to familiarize the reader with the general nature of environmental impacts and mitigation which arise in the minerals industry, and with the issues surrounding the regulation debate. The chapter is organized as a series of sub- chapters. The first of these is a discussion of the conceptual foundations of regulatory policy. The second section summarizes the principal federal environmental statutes, and the implementation of such regulation. Following that, the third section summarizes the current state of knowledge regarding the types of environmental impacts associated with mineral development. This discussion, organized in a format similar to that used in environmental impact statements, can be thought of as a guide to reading and understanding such statements. Next, the fourth section surveys studies of the costs and benefits of environmental regulation. 'These empirical studies are evaluated in terms of the framework developed in the first section of the chapter. In the fifth section, the discussion turns to federal, state, and local approaches to land use control and siting, and the economic analysis of such conflicts. Included are discussions of the two principal forms of public lands mineral entry, the 1872 location patent system and the 1920 leasing approach. CONCEPTUAL FOUNDATIONS OF REGULATORY POLICY David A. Gulley The Role of Regulation in a Market Economy What is Regulation?: Regulation is the intervention of government in the activities of the private market. In a market society, the private sector is presumed to be the most appropriate economic agent. Given this presumption, regulation generally begins with a demonstration of persistent problems under laissez-faire in a given context. Environmental and related regulation occurs because the public believes the free market does not properly value environ- mental quality. In this section, concepts are advanced to aid the reader in understanding the government's role in this respect.
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