BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”



                                                                  AB 792
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          Date of Hearing:  June 13, 2011

                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES
                                Wesley Chesbro, Chair
                SB 792 (Steinberg) - As Introduced:  February 18, 2011

           SENATE VOTE  :  31-8
           
          SUBJECT  :  Surface mining:  mineral resource management policies

           SUMMARY  :  Amends the content of a local government's mineral 
          resources management policies, which is required by the Surface 
          Mining and Reclamation Act of 1975 (SMARA), so that it assists 
          in the management of land use that affects access to areas that 
          contain mineral deposits of statewide and regional significance. 
           

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Finds and declares that the extraction of minerals is 
            essential to the continued economic well-being of the state 
            and to the needs of the society, and that the reclamation of 
            mined lands is necessary to prevent or minimize adverse 
            effects on the environment and to protect the public health 
            and safety.

          2)Requires the State Mining and Geology Board (Board) to adopt 
            regulations that establish state policy for the reclamation of 
            mined lands.

          3)Requires the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to identify 
            areas within the state that are urbanized or are subject to 
            urban expansion or other irreversible land uses that would 
            preclude mineral extraction.

          4)Requires the State Geologist to classify each area identified 
            by OPR as (1) an area that contains mineral deposits and is 
            not of regional or statewide significance; (2) an area that 
            contains mineral deposits and is of regional or statewide 
            significance; or (3) an area containing mineral deposits, the 
            significance of which requires further evaluation. 

          5)Defines "area of regional significance" and "area of statewide 
            significance" as areas designated by the Board that are known 
            to contain deposits of minerals that are of prime importance 








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            in meeting future needs for minerals either in a region or the 
            state and, if prematurely developed for alternate incompatible 
            land uses, could result in the permanent loss of minerals.

          6)Requires the State Geologist to transmit the information 
            regarding mineral land classification to the Board for 
            incorporation into the state policy for the reclamation of 
            mined lands and for transmittal to lead agencies (i.e. the 
            public agencies that have the principal responsibility for 
            approving reclamation plans).

          7)Requires a lead agency, within 12 months of receiving mineral 
            land classification information from the State Geologist and 
            also within 12 months of the designation of an area of 
            statewide or regional significance in its jurisdiction, to 
            establish mineral resources management policies in its general 
            plan that will, among other things, "assist in the management 
            of land use ›that]  affect areas  of statewide and regional 
            significance" and "emphasize the conservation and development 
            of identified mineral deposits."

          8)Requires a lead agency to submit its proposed mineral 
            resources management policies to the Board for review and 
            comment prior to adoption.

          9)Provides that if a lead agency seeks to permit land use that 
            would threaten the potential to extract minerals in an area 
            classified and designated as having important materials to be 
            protected, the lead agency must first prepare a statement 
            specifying its reasons for permitting the proposed use.  The 
            lead agency must also provide public notice of the statement, 
            a public hearing, and written responses to public comments.

           THIS BILL  amends the content of a lead agency's mineral 
          resources management policies so that they assist in the 
          management of land use that  affects access to areas  of statewide 
          and regional significance.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Senate Appropriations 
          Committee, pursuant to Senate Rule 28.8, negligible state costs.

          COMMENTS  :

           1)Background.   Construction aggregate (e.g. sand, gravel, and 
            crushed stone) is necessary material to support the 








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            construction and maintenance of the state's public and private 
            infrastructure, such as roadways, bridges, dams, canals, and 
            buildings.  In 2005, California consumed about 235 million 
            tons of construction aggregate or about 6.6 tons per person.  

            A 2006 report by the California Geological Survey explains 
            that the state will need 13.5 billion tons of construction 
            aggregate in the period between 2006 and 2056 and has only 4 
            billion tons under permit.  It is unknown what effect the 
            recession has had on these estimates.  The State Geologist has 
            identified lands containing up to 74 billions tons of 
            non-permitted construction aggregate that are likely suitable 
            to meet the state's projected needs. 

            To help protect the future development of non-permitted 
            aggregate resources, lead agencies are required to establish 
            mineral resources management policies that, among other 
            things, "assist in the management of land use ›that] affect 
            areas of statewide and regional significance" and "emphasize 
            the conservation and development of identified mineral 
            deposits."  A lead agency is required to incorporate its 
            mineral resources management policies into its general plan.  
            If a lead agency wishes to permit a use that would threaten 
            the potential to extract minerals from a designated area of 
            statewide or regional significance, it must first prepare a 
            statement specifying its reasons for permitting the proposed 
            use, provide public notice of the statement and a 60 day 
            public review period, hold a public hearing, and respond in 
            writing to comments received.

            A lead agency's mineral resources management policies are not 
            required to focus on land use that affects  access  to areas 
            with mineral deposits of significance.  Access to mineral 
            deposits, however, affects the ability to develop mineral 
            deposits in the future.  This bill will require a lead agency, 
            as part of its mineral resources management policies, to 
            assist in the management of land use that affects  access  to 
            areas of statewide and regional significance.  

           2)Purpose of Mineral Resources Management Policies.   One of the 
            major purposes of requiring lead agencies to establish mineral 
            resources management policies is that they ensure that the 
            mineral resource potential of lands is recognized and 
            considered in the land use planning process.  These polices do 
            not require lead agencies to develop mineral resources, nor do 








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            they preempt any law or regulation regarding permitting or 
            environmental review.

           3)The Effect of the Bill.   According to a 2007 report from the 
            Board, the Commission on State Mandates adopted a decision in 
            1985 holding that the statute requiring a lead agency to 
            establish mineral resources management policies constitutes a 
            reimbursable mandate.  The consequence of this decision is 
            that a lead agency is not required to establish mineral 
            resources management policies if reimbursement is not 
            provided.  Reimbursement is provided for lead agencies under 
            certain circumstances; however, when no reimbursement is 
            provided, the establishment of mineral resources management 
            policies is voluntary.  As such, this bill will only affect 
            lead agencies that receive reimbursement and lead agencies 
            that voluntarily comply with the law despite not receiving 
            reimbursement.  

            Under existing law, a lead agency is required to submit its 
            proposed mineral resources management policies to the Board 
            for review and comment prior to adoption.  However, according 
            to the 2007 report reference above, the Board does not have a 
            consistent process for recognizing a lead agency's mineral 
            resources management policies.  As such, the Board does not 
            know how many lead agencies have established mineral resources 
            management policies.

            Since not all lead agencies are required to establish mineral 
            resources management policies and since the Board does not 
            know how many lead agencies have adopted policies, the effect 
            of the bill is unknown.  According to the sponsors, however, 
            there are enough lead agencies with mineral resources 
            management policies for this bill to be effective.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :

           Support 
           
          California Construction & Industrial Materials Association
          Sespe Consulting, Inc.
          Western Oilfield Supply Company
           
            Opposition 
           
          None on file








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           Analysis Prepared by  :  Mario DeBernardo / NAT. RES. / (916) 
          319-2092