Mining and Mining Claims

ORS 517.979
Environmental evaluation

  • review of baseline data
  • payment of costs of third party contractor


The State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries shall direct staff or shall hire a third party contractor to:


Prepare an environmental evaluation;


Review baseline data submitted by the applicant; and


Review application material if a permitting agency or a cooperating agency lacks the expertise.


The applicant shall pay costs of hiring a third party contractor. If the applicant shows cause why a particular third party contractor should not be allowed to perform a function under subsection (1) of this section, the department shall hire an alternate contractor.


The contents of the environmental evaluation under subsection (1) of this section shall include:


An analysis of the reasonably foreseeable impacts of an activity including catastrophic consequences, even if the probability of occurrence is low, if the analysis is supported by credible scientific evidence and is not based on pure conjecture.


An assessment of the total cumulative impact on the environment that results from the incremental impact of an action when added with other past, present and reasonably foreseeable future actions, regardless of the agency or persons that undertake the other action, or whether the actions are on private, state or federal land. To the extent possible, the department shall enter into a memorandum of agreement with federal agencies to ensure that information required by the state in evaluating the cumulative impact of a proposed mining operation may be used by the applicant to satisfy federal requirements for such an assessment.


A review and analysis of alternatives analyzed by the applicant or a contractor hired by the applicant that:


Rigorously explores and objectively evaluates all reasonable alternatives and briefly discusses alternatives that were eliminated and the reasons the alternatives were eliminated;


Treats each alternative, including the proposed action, in detail so that the permitting agencies, cooperating agencies and the public may evaluate the comparative merits of the alternatives; and


Identifies all alternatives within the authority of each permitting or cooperating agency.


Upon completion of the environmental evaluation, the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries shall provide notice in accordance with ORS 517.959 (Public notice requirements for ORS 517.952 to 517.989). The notice shall state that the environmental evaluation is complete and that the persons may respond with written comments for a period of two weeks after the notice is given. [1991 c.735 §17; 2013 c.371 §20]
Chapter 517

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Power of Department of Environmental Quality to regulate mining activities and recovery of oil and geothermal activities, (1972) Vol 35, p 1100

Law Review Citations

4 EL 370 (1974)


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021