29.32 Non-Federal mineral rights.§ 29.32 Non-Federal mineral rights.
(a) Non-Federal mineral rights owners within the National Wildlife Refuge System, not including coordination areas, must, to the greatest extent practicable, conduct all exploration, development, and production operations in such a manner as to prevent damage, erosion, pollution, or contamination to Service-administered lands, waters, facilities, and to wildlife thereon. So far as is practicable, such operations must also be conducted without interference to the operation of the refuge and disturbance to the wildlife thereon.
(1) Physical occupancy must be kept to the minimum space necessary to conduct efficient mineral operations.
(2) Persons conducting mineral operations on Service-administered lands and waters must comply with all applicable Federal and State laws and regulations for the protection of wildlife and the administration of the area.
(3) All waste and contaminating substances must be kept in the smallest practicable area, confined so as to prevent escape as a result of rains and high water or otherwise, and removed from Service-administered lands and waters as quickly as practicable in such a manner as to prevent contamination, pollution, damage, or injury to Service-administered lands, waters, or facilities, or to wildlife thereon.
(4) Structures and equipment must be removed when the need for them has ended, and, upon the cessation of operations, the habitat in the area of operations must be restored to the extent possible to pre-operation conditions.
(b) Nothing in this section will be applied so as to contravene or nullify rights vested in holders of mineral interests on refuge lands.[81 FR 79971, Nov. 14, 2016]