by Scott Harn
ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal
I'm in Washington, DC again with the Minerals and Mining Advisory Council (MMAC). I arrived on Tuesday, and this is my second trip in the past four weeks.
We are continuing to educate legislators on the needs of small miners and we're focused on getting our first bill through.
We've had meetings with influential members, including Senator Mike Lee of Utah, Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona and Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado. All are supporting our recommendation to allow Mining Districts to decide whether or not a road, trail or route should be open, even if it overturns a Travel Management Plan or land use designation. Coffman wrote a letter on our behalf to open doors for us for Chairman Rob Bishop at the House Natural Resources Committee and others.
I had a long discussion with Gosar yesterday. He has set aside time on Monday to discuss this further, so Joe and Clark will adjust their flights so they can stay an extra day or two.
Our first bill will only address this issue. We'll go back to working on some of the more comprehensive issues after this one gets done.
We met with some staff members at the Department of Interior regarding the MOU already in place between BLM and the Rand Mining District. This MOU lifted all the overlying land designations within that district and is being considered as a model for other MMAC approved districts. We were briefed on many items by these new staffers and had the opportunity to get many of our questions answered regarding where the Trump Administration is heading. A member of President Trump's team offered to deliver our proposed Executive Order on Mining Districts to President Trump.
I would love to reveal our discussions here, but we agreed in advance not to do that; I will just say that we received some very encouraging answers and I'll be happy to report on each item we discussed when that information becomes public.
We spent about three hours meeting in the afternoon with members of the House Committee on Natural Resources for a group discussion. We were able to offer our suggestions for everything from the Endangered Species Act, Travel Management Plans, Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Antiquities Act, NEPA, RMPs, citizen suit provisions, and more.
This is Saturday, and we'll spend all day in a session with folks who have offered their assistance in getting our needs addressed in Congress. I'll be making a presentation to this group on Mining Districts along with Clark Pearson and Joe Martori.
We've already obtained some very valuable help and feedback. We'll be making a few tweaks to our first proposed legislation to reopen closed roads and routes so it can get through Congress.
That's all I have time to cover at the moment.
Thank you for your continued support, and please consider joining MMAC so we can return to Washington, DC soon. You can do so at mmacusa.org. You can join as a silver or gold supporter, or just make a one-time contribution at the bottom of that page.
Editor/Publisher, and MMAC National Advisor
Saturday night update, 3/11/17
Very productive day. Met with 24 other, like-minded patriots to exchange information and figure out what our priorities should be addressing a full range of issues. We were also offered direct help from a former Department of Natural Resources director of a western state, and received a letter from a Congressman asking the appropriate committee to assist us with our proposed amendment to reopen roads, routes and trails.
I'm sorry I can't be more specific at this time, but we were asked to keep this information private by the organizers until we get some specific steps completed toward our goals. It's been a very good day, and I'll provide a full update in our April issue.