Legislative and Regulatory Update
July 2013 by Scott Harn• Hearing date moved up for preliminary injunction for California suction dredging
The motion for a preliminary injunction has been moved up by one day to July 23, 2013, at 8:30am in Rancho Cucamonga Superior Court, 8303 Haven Ave, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730. The hearing will be in front of Judge Gilbert G. Ochoa in Department R8. A strong turnout of miners would be helpful.
Please Note: The case was consolidated with another case and the hearing date is now set for August 27, 2013. (See August 2013 Legislative Update for further details.)
Meanwhile, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) has proposed an “emergency rule” to close a “loophole” in the state’s suction gold dredging regulations. The agency said that they’re aiming to prevent miners from using motorized suction equipment to gather material for later processing.
At the request of the Environmental Law Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity, CDFW proposed changing the definition of suction dredging from “the use of a motorized suction system to vacuum material from the bottom of a river, stream or lake and to return all or some portion of that material to the same river, stream or lake for the extraction of minerals” to “the use of a suction system to vacuum material from a river, stream or lake for the extraction of minerals.”
CDFW stated they expected to publish the proposed emergency rule on June 17, to be followed by a five-day comment period. The Western Mining Alliance protested the action and has contacted several legislative members and attorneys for assistance.
The relevant section of the California Government Code states, “A finding of emergency based only upon expediency, convenience, best interest, general public need, or speculation, shall not be adequate to demonstrate the existence of an emergency. If the situation identified in the finding of emergency existed and was known by the agency adopting the emergency regulation in sufficient time to have been addressed through non-emergency regulations adopted in accordance with the provisions of Article 5 (commencing with Section 11346), the finding of emergency shall include facts explaining the failure to address the situation through non-emergency regulations.”
CDFW acknowledged they had been considering the proposed rule since early March 2013, which allowed them plenty of time to address the issue without designating it as an emergency.
On June 18, the proposed emergency rule was published by the the California Office of Administrative Law. Check the “Recent News” section of our website for additional updates.
• Anti-mining bills in Oregon lead to recall effort
Anti-mining bills in Oregon—SB 115, SB 370, SB 401, and SB 838—are still active, but no recent action has been taken by legislators.
The bills would place numerous waterways off-limits, raise fees for some types of mining, and outlaw the use of motorized equipment in many types of placer operations.
Kerby Jackson, head of Oregon’s Galice Mining District, stated his group is not waiting for the bills to be enacted. The Galice Mining District has petitioned the federal district court to hear a lawsuit over the proposed bills.
The main culprit behind many of the anti-mining bills is Senator Alan Bates (D-Ashland). A recall drive is now underway, spearheaded by long-time gold miner and timber worker Rick Barclay.
Barclay is collecting signatures from registered voters in Oregon’s Senate District 3, which includes Jacksonville, Talent, Medford, Ashland, Phoenix and additional portions of Jackson County. If you are a registered voter in Senate District 3, please stop by Black Cat Mining in Medford or Armadillo Mining Shop in Grants Pass to sign the recall petition.
Representative Paul Shepherd stopped by, and Idaho County Commissioner Jim Chmelik dove with one of the dredgers so he could see for himself that no harm was being done to fish or their habitat.
Suction dredging court cases in California linger on
Present conflicts and realizations having to do with dependence on China have illuminated the fact that suction dredge miners have a vital role to play and are an ignored and untapped domestic resource—until now.
Mining Districts are the private regulatory authority granted by Congress recognized to regulate the mineral lands held by the United States and for the disposal to citizens of the United States, by means of development and potentially perfected by patent.
Renewed interest in mining of gold, silver, copper and other metals in Aroostook County's Bald Mountain triggered 2012 legislation requiring the overhaul of the state's two-decade-old mining regulations.
The ESA has become an unwieldy beast that was hijacked by government agencies run amok, and by extreme environmental groups who saw it as a way to lock up public lands and to generate income through exaggerated claims and continuous lawsuits.
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• Oregon wilderness
• Oregon miner prevails in lawsuit against Forest Service and District Ranger
• Canada pulls out of Kyoto Climate Treaty
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