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Paleontological Resources Preservation Act- House of Representatives

Filed under: regular postings — Gary January 31, 2007 @ 1:09 am

Paleontological Resources Preservation Act (Introduced in House)

A BILL
To provide for the protection of paleontological resources on Federal lands,
and for other purposes.Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

(1) CASUAL COLLECTING- The term `casual collecting’ means the collecting of areasonable amount of common invertebrate and plant paleontological resourcesfor non-commercial personal use, either by surface collection or the use of non-powered hand tools resulting in only negligible disturbance to the Earth’ssurface and other resources. As used in this paragraph, the terms `reasonable amount’, `common invertebrate and plant paleontological resources’ and negligible disturbance’ shall be determined by the Secretary.

HR 554 IH
110th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 554
To provide for the protection of paleontological resources on Federal lands,
and for other purposes.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 18, 2007
Mr. MCGOVERN

(for himself and Mr. RENZI) introduced the following bill; which
was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and in addition to the
Committee on Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by the
Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the
jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL
To provide for the protection of paleontological resources on Federal lands,
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 `Paleontological Resources Preservation Act’.
SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.
As used in this Act:
(1) CASUAL COLLECTING- The term `casual collecting’ means the collecting of a
reasonable amount of common invertebrate and plant paleontological resources
for non-commercial personal use, either by surface collection or the use of
non-powered hand tools resulting in only negligible disturbance to the Earth’s
surface and other resources. As used in this paragraph, the terms `reasonable
amount’, `common invertebrate and plant paleontological resources’ and
`negligible disturbance’ shall be determined by the Secretary.

(2) SECRETARY- The term `Secretary’ means the Secretary of the Interior with
respect to lands controlled or administered by the Secretary of the Interior
or the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to National Forest System Lands
controlled or administered by the Secretary of Agriculture.
(3) FEDERAL LANDS- The term `Federal lands’ means–
(A) lands controlled or administered by the Secretary of the Interior, except
Indian lands; or
(B) National Forest System lands controlled or administered by the Secretary
of Agriculture.
(4) INDIAN LANDS- The term `Indian Land’ means lands of Indian tribes, or
Indian individuals, which are either held in trust by the United States or
subject to a restriction against alienation imposed by the United States.
(5) STATE- The term `State’ means the fifty States, the District of Columbia,
the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any other territory or possession of the
United States.
(6) PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCE- The term `paleontological resource’ means any
fossilized remains, traces, or imprints of organisms, preserved in or on the
earth’s crust, that are of paleontological interest and that provide information
about the history of life on earth, except that the term does not include–
(A) any materials associated with an archaeological resource (as defined in
section 3(1) of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (16 U.S.C.
470bb(1)); or
(B) any cultural item (as defined in section 2 of the Native American Graves
Protection and Repatriation Act (25 U.S.C. 3001)).
SEC. 3. MANAGEMENT.
(a) In General- The Secretary shall manage and protect paleontological
resources on Federal lands using scientific principles and expertise. The Secretary
shall develop appropriate plans for inventory, monitoring, and the scientific
and educational use of paleontological resources, in accordance with
applicable agency laws, regulations, and policies. These plans shall emphasize
interagency coordination and collaborative efforts where possible with non-Federal
partners, the scientific community, and the general public.
(b) Coordination- To the extent possible, the Secretary of the Interior and
the Secretary of Agriculture shall coordinate in the implementation of this Act.
SEC. 4. PUBLIC AWARENESS AND EDUCATION PROGRAM.
The Secretary shall establish a program to increase public awareness about
the significance of paleontological resources.
SEC. 5. COLLECTION OF PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCES.
(a) Permit Requirement-
(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in this Act, a paleontological resource
may not be collected from Federal lands without a permit issued under this Act
by the Secretary.
(2) CASUAL COLLECTING EXCEPTION- The Secretary may allow casual collecting
without a permit on Federal lands controlled or administered by the Bureau of
Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Forest Service, where such
collection is consistent with the laws governing the management of those
Federal lands and this Act.
(3) PREVIOUS PERMIT EXCEPTION- Nothing in this section shall affect a valid
permit issued prior to the date of enactment of this Act.
(b) Criteria for Issuance of a Permit- The Secretary may issue a permit for
the collection of a paleontological resource pursuant to an application if the
Secretary determines that–
(1) the applicant is qualified to carry out the permitted activity;
(2) the permitted activity is undertaken for the purpose of furthering
paleontological knowledge or for public education;
(3) the permitted activity is consistent with any management plan applicable
to the Federal lands concerned; and
(4) the proposed methods of collecting will not threaten significant natural
or cultural resources.
(c) Permit Specifications- A permit for the collection of a paleontological
resource issued under this section shall contain such terms and conditions as
the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act. Every
permit shall include requirements that–
(1) the paleontological resource that is collected from Federal lands under
the permit will remain the property of the United States;
(2) the paleontological resource and copies of associated records will be
preserved for the public in an approved repository, to be made available for
scientific research and public education; and
(3) specific locality data will not be released by the permittee or
repository without the written permission of the Secretary.
(d) Modification, Suspension, and Revocation of Permits-
(1) The Secretary may modify, suspend, or revoke a permit issued under this
section–
(A) for resource, safety, or other management considerations; or
(B) when there is a violation of term or condition of a permit issued
pursuant to this section.
(2) The permit shall be revoked if any person working under the authority of
the permit is convicted under section 7 or is assessed a civil penalty under
section 8.
(e) Area Closures- In order to protect paleontological or other resources and
to provide for public safety, the Secretary may restrict access to or close
areas under the Secretary’s jurisdiction to the collection of paleontological
resources.
SEC. 6. CURATION OF RESOURCES.
Any paleontological resource, and any data and records associated with the
resource, collected under a permit, shall be deposited in an approved
repository. The Secretary may enter into agreements with non-Federal repositories
regarding the curation of these resources, data, and records.
SEC. 7. PROHIBITED ACTS; CRIMINAL PENALTIES.
(a) In General- A person may not–
(1) excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or deface or attempt to
excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or deface any paleontological
resources located on Federal lands unless such activity is conducted in accordance
with this Act;
(2) exchange, transport, export, receive, or offer to exchange, transport,
export, or receive any paleontological resource if, in the exercise of due care,
the person knew or should have known such resource to have been excavated or
removed from Federal lands in violation of any provisions, rule, regulation,
law, ordinance, or permit in effect under Federal law, including this Act; or
(3) sell or purchase or offer to sell or purchase any paleontological
resource if, in the exercise of due care, the person knew or should have known such
resource to have been excavated, removed, sold, purchased, exchanged,
transported, or received from Federal lands.
(b) False Labeling Offenses- A person may not make or submit any false
record, account, or label for, or any false identification of, any paleontological
resource excavated or removed from Federal lands.
(c) Penalties- A person who knowingly violates or counsels, procures,
solicits, or employs another person to violate subsection (a) or (b) shall, upon
conviction, be fined in accordance with title 18, United States Code, or
imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both; but if the sum of the commercial and
paleontological value of the paleontological resources involved and the cost of
restoration and repair of such resources does not exceed $500, such person shall
be fined in accordance with title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned not
more than one year, or both.
(d) General Exception- Nothing in subsection (a) shall apply to any person
with respect to any paleontological resource which was in the lawful possession
of such person prior to the date of the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 8. CIVIL PENALTIES.
(a) In General-
(1) HEARING- A person who violates any prohibition contained in an applicable
regulation or permit issued under this Act may be assessed a penalty by the
Secretary after the person is given notice and opportunity for a hearing with
respect to the violation. Each violation shall be considered a separate offense
for purposes of this section.
(2) AMOUNT OF PENALTY- The amount of such penalty assessed under paragraph
(1) shall be determined under regulations promulgated pursuant to this Act,
taking into account the following factors:
(A) The scientific or fair market value, whichever is greater, of the
paleontological resource involved, as determined by the Secretary.
(B) The cost of response, restoration, and repair of the resource and the
paleontological site involved.
(C) Any other factors considered relevant by the Secretary assessing the
penalty.
(3) MULTIPLE OFFENSES- In the case of a second or subsequent violation by the
same person, the amount of a penalty assessed under paragraph (2) may be
doubled.
(4) LIMITATION- The amount of any penalty assessed under this subsection for
any one violation shall not exceed an amount equal to double the cost of
response, restoration, and repair of resources and paleontological site damage plus
double the scientific or fair market value of resources destroyed or not
recovered.
(b) Petition for Judicial Review; Collection of Unpaid Assessments-
(1) JUDICIAL REVIEW- Any person against whom an order is issued assessing a
penalty under subsection (a) may file a petition for judicial review of the
order in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia or in the
district in which the violation is alleged to have occurred within the 30-day
period beginning on the date the order making the assessment was issued. Upon
notice of such filing, the Secretary shall promptly file such a certified copy
of the record on which the order was issued. The court shall hear the action
on the record made before the Secretary and shall sustain the action if it is
supported by substantial evidence on the record considered as a whole.
(2) FAILURE TO PAY- If any person fails to pay a penalty under this section
within 30 days–
(A) after the order making assessment has become final and the person has not
filed a petition for judicial review of the order in accordance with
paragraph (1); or
(B) after a court in an action brought in paragraph (1) has entered a final
judgment upholding the assessment of the penalty, the Secretary may request the
Attorney General to institute a civil action in a district court of the
United States for any district in which the person if found, resides, or transacts
business, to collect the penalty (plus interest at currently prevailing rates
from the date of the final order or the date of the final judgment, as the
case may be). The district court shall have jurisdiction to hear and decide any
such action. In such action, the validity, amount, and appropriateness of such
penalty shall not be subject to review. Any person who fails to pay on a
timely basis the amount of an assessment of a civil penalty as described in the
first sentence of this paragraph shall be required to pay, in addition to such
amount and interest, attorneys fees and costs for collection proceedings.
(c) Hearings- Hearings held during proceedings instituted under subsection
(a) shall be conducted in accordance with section 554 of title 5, United States
Code.
(d) Use of Recovered Amounts- Penalties collected under this section shall be
available to the Secretary and without further appropriation may be used only
as follows:
(1) To protect, restore, or repair the paleontological resources and sites
which were the subject of the action, or to acquire sites with equivalent
resources, and to protect, monitor, and study the resources and sites. Any
acquisition shall be subject to any limitations contained in the organic legislation
for such Federal lands.
(2) To provide educational materials to the public about paleontological
resources and sites.
(3) To provide for the payment of rewards as provided in section 9.
SEC. 9. REWARDS AND FORFEITURE.
(a) Rewards- The Secretary may pay from penalties collected under section 7
or 8–
(1) consistent with amounts established in regulations by the Secretary; or
(2) if no such regulation exists, an amount equal to the lesser of one-half
of the penalty or $500, to any person who furnishes information which leads to
the finding of a civil violation, or the conviction of criminal violation,
with respect to which the penalty was paid. If several persons provided the
information, the amount shall be divided among the persons. No officer or employee
of the United States or of any State or local government who furnishes
information or renders service in the performance of his official duties shall be
eligible for payment under this subsection.
(b) Forfeiture- All paleontological resources with respect to which a
violation under section 7 or 8 occurred and which are in the possession of any
person, and all vehicles and equipment of any person that were used in connection
with the violation, shall be subject to civil forfeiture, or upon conviction, to
criminal forfeiture. All provisions of law relating to the seizure,
forfeiture, and condemnation of property for a violation of this Act, the disposition
of such property or the proceeds from the sale thereof, and remission or
mitigation of such forfeiture, as well as the procedural provisions of chapter 46 of
title 18, United States Code, shall apply to the seizures and forfeitures
incurred or alleged to have incurred under the provisions of this Act.
(c) Transfer of Seized Resources- The Secretary may transfer administration
of seized paleontological resources to Federal or non-Federal educational
institutions to be used for scientific or educational purposes.
SEC. 10. CONFIDENTIALITY.
Information concerning the nature and specific location of a paleontological
resource the collection of which requires a permit under this Act or under any
other provision of Federal law shall be exempt from disclosure under section
552 of title 5, United States Code, and any other law unless the Secretary
determines that disclosure would–
(1) further the purposes of this Act;
(2) not create risk of harm to or theft or destruction of the resource or the
site containing the resource; and
(3) be in accordance with other applicable laws.
SEC. 11. REGULATIONS.
As soon as practical after the date of the enactment of this Act, the
Secretary shall issue such regulations as are appropriate to carry out this Act,
providing opportunities for public notice and comment.
SEC. 12. SAVINGS PROVISIONS.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to–
(1) invalidate, modify, or impose any additional restrictions or permitting
requirements on any activities permitted at any time under the general mining
laws, the mineral or geothermal leasing laws, laws providing for minerals
materials disposal, or laws providing for the management or regulation of the
activities authorized by the aforementioned laws including but not limited to the
Federal Land Policy Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1701-1784), Public Law 94-429
(commonly known as the `Mining in the Parks Act’) (16 U.S.C. 1901 et seq.), the
Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (30 U.S.C. 1201-1358), and
the Organic Administration Act (16 U.S.C. 478, 482, 551);
(2) invalidate, modify, or impose any additional restrictions or permitting
requirements on any activities permitted at any time under existing laws and
authorities relating to reclamation and multiple uses of Federal lands;
(3) apply to, or require a permit for, casual collecting of a rock, mineral,
or invertebrate or plant fossil that is not protected under this Act;
(4) affect any lands other than Federal lands or affect the lawful recovery,
collection, or sale of paleontological resources from lands other than Federal
lands;
(5) alter or diminish the authority of a Federal agency under any other law
to provide protection for paleontological resources on Federal lands in
addition to the protection provided under this Act; or
(6) create any right, privilege, benefit, or entitlement for any person who
is not an officer or employee of the United States acting in that capacity. No
person who is not an officer or employee of the United States acting in that
capacity shall have standing to file any civil action in a court of the United States to enforce any provision or amendment made by this Act.
SEC. 13. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to
carry out this Act.

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