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.
A proposed constitutional amendment to raise the cap on mining taxes can proceed as written, a state judge ruled March 14.
We can’t say it wasn’t expected. The California Department of Fish & Game released revised suction gold dredging regulations on February 17, 2012, and it’s obvious the agency wants to make life as difficult as possible for dredgers.
We soon found that our discovery post and other claim markers were gone and replaced with new posts and a notice of location with an earlier date than had been on our notice of location.
This article may not be as interesting as someone describing a big nugget find in Australia...but right now the biggest obstacle to mining is our government.
We all know that it was never Congress’ intent to regulate gold panners and other individual mine operators through MSHA. In fact, I believe the concept of owner-operated mines with no employees was so strange a concept to the lawmakers that they never even thought there would be a need for such an exemption.
• PLP continues the fight for miners' rights
• Oregon miners fight back
• Bills address strategic minerals
• Obama’s parting shots
• California suction dredging
• Oregon follows California’s lead
• Lawsuit coming; bill introduced to stop mining in Washington State
• President Trump halts new federal regulations
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