• Settlement hearings
At press time, the mandatory settlement hearings are still pending in San Bernardino, California.
All parties in the suction gold dredge court battle were ordered by Judge Gilbert Ochoa to appear or participate by phone on June 24, with additional dates of June 25 and 26 set aside if needed.
As mentioned last month, this is a good sign. If Judge Ochoa was prepared to rule against the miners, he would have already done so. But case law is in favor of the miners—states are allowed to reasonably regulate mining but cannot prohibit it. The moratorium that began in 2009 is, in effect, a prohibition, and the new regulations promulgated by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife would make it impossible to operate a suction dredge profitably even if the moratorium is lifted.
We will continue to post updates to our website
at www.icmj.com and follow up on this story in our August 2014 issue. and you can find an update here.
• Fighting back
You’ll notice some positive articles in this issue about miners fighting back. A few legislators seem to be taking note of the overbearing nature of federal agencies and are lending a hand.
We are certainly happy to see this trend developing and pray it continues.
There is a lesson here. Federal agencies will continue to abuse their authority and restrict our rights if we allow it. Summarize the issues involved in your case and ask for a meeting with your state or federal representative.
Be polite and respectful, but don’t allow government officers or agents to ignore the law.
You are guaranteed to lose your rights if you allow the abuse to continue!
As this issue is mailed, we’re heading off to Idaho for the Occupy Idaho Waters dredging protest. Miners will gather on the Salmon River near Riggins, Idaho, to protest EPA interference with the dredging permit process.
From June 30 through July 6, miners will gather to dredge with the support of county commissioner Jim Chmelik and the local sheriff.
We’ll report on this event in the August issue.