Legislative and Regulatory Update
January 2014 by Scott Harn• Pacific Legal Foundation joins effort to overturn California dredging moratorium
In a welcome bit of news, The Western Mining Alliance reported that the Pacific Legal Foundation has agreed to join the court battle underway to restore the rights of suction gold dredgers in California.
Most of the court cases have been consolidated and are scheduled to be heard in May 2014 in San Benardino County.
One particular case of interest involves suction gold dredger Brandon Rinehart. In 2012, Rinehart was cited for operating a suction dredge without a permit. Rinehart argued that it was impossible to comply because the state refused to issue permits. The judge in this case would not consider Rinehart’s claim that the State of California did not have the authority to interfere with his mining operation. Rinehart was convicted and has appealed.
Attorney James Buchal “has done a stunning job of attacking the State and we believe Rinehart will win his appeal on US Constitutional grounds,” said The Western Mining Alliance.
Now Rinehart is going to get some additional help. Pacific Legal Foundation agreed to join “amicus curiae,” which is a Latin term meaning “friend of the court.” They will provide legal research and file briefs in support of Rinehart’s case.
Pacific Legal Foundation has a stellar reputation, often standing up for the little guy. They have sued local, state and federal agencies on numerous occasions in cases involving individual rights, property rights, the Endangered Species Act, and excessive environmental regulations, and won many of these cases, even at the Supreme Court level.
You can view some of their recent victories at www.pacificlegal.org
We also recommend joining The Western Mining Alliance—they have been doing some excellent work on behalf of miners. You can find them online at westernminingalliance.org
• PLP fund drive continues
In order to win the above-mentioned court battle, Public Lands for the People put out an S.O.S. call last month because they were running low on funds.
Even though this dredging case is in California, it will have repercussions across the Western states and beyond. You can rest assured that regulators in your own state are watching and the outcome will impact your situation.
In our December 2013 issue, we offered to chip in some extra money. A PLP membership is normally $35 for an individual. With our “Ten4PLP offer” anyone who purchased a subscription or renewal could add a PLP membership for the reduced price of $25. We agreed to chip in the extra $10 to get you that one-year PLP membership.
The original offer was good until December 30, 2013, but we would like to extend that offer through January 31, 2014. Click on the “More” tab at www.icmj.com followed by the “Merchandise” link to find the offer, or just call us at (831) 479-1500.
We want to thank our new and renewing subscribers who have jumped in to help fund and win this case.
Following are the names of those whose orders and donations we received through December 16, 2013:
Jerry Kloose—Weaverville, CA
Richard Turner—Vallejo, CA
Randal Steinbeck—Junction City, CA
David Coolen—Escondido, CA
Wesley Hawkins—Grass Valley, CA
Donald English—Raymond, CA
Robert Edgley—Sonoma, CA
Patric Piwon—Cloquet, MN
Wayne Frantz—Kent, WA
Jerry Ehrhardt—Kennewick, WA
Michael Ascari—Citrus Heights, CA
Loren Stout—John Day, OR
Thomas Connors—Conneaut, OH
Robert Bickerstaff—Albuquerque, NM
Darryl Lake—Rockvale, CO
Steve Borri—Healdsburg, CA
Alan Fink—Billings, MT
Michael Tylka—Jerome, ID
Mr/Mrs Joseph McGuire—Boston, KY
Dennis Beal—Loomis, WA
Mark Rice—Neilton, WA
Johnny Cooper—Kannapolis, NC
Jan Siks—Shelton, WA
John McPherson—Sacramento, CA
Michael Loyd—Jurupa Valley, CA
Roger Reineke—Sidney, OH
Jerry Lairamore—Roseville, CA
James Ray—Shell, WY
Glenn Thatcher—North Bend, OR
Don Steward—Jeffrey City, WY
Gerald Meecham—Ely, NV
Hobart Chastain—Eden, UT
Doug Divine—Oakdale, CA
Kurt Hauck—Clintondale, NY
Chad Jensen—Colfax, CA
Randall Groce—Sand Coulee, MT
Patrick Johnson—Yelm, WA
Steven Thompson—Brentwood, CA
Bill Roberts—Lotus, CA
Matthew Lauer—Portage, WI
Aaron Webb—Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Fred Ott—Shingle Springs, CA
Chester Morris—Mt Aukum, CA
Douglas Ferguson—Elk Grove, CA
Donald V Reed—Sacramento, CA
Robert Piper—Lemoore, CA
Robert Mayo—Mesa, AZ
Mike O’Connell—Butte, MT
Perry D Allen—Medford, OR
Ronald Chase—Sheboygan, WI
Frank Madsen—Novato, CA
James Cragle—Unalakleet, AK
Ian MacNab—Santa Rosa, CA
John Trulin—Clinton, WA
Richard B Kerr—Anchorage, AK
Matt MacGowan—Loomis, CA
Stephen Cox—Mesquite, NV
Robert Dunst—Santa Rosa, CA
David Gibb—Olivehurst, CA
John Yancey—Roseburg, CA
Alan Frye—Middletown, OH
Michael Wicks—Satsyna, FL
Jack Broich—Paulden, AZ
James O’Brien— Lancaster, CA
Peter Szabo—Benicia, CA
Tom Chambers—Hanford, CA
Scott Dressler—Chico, CA
John Bowers—Douglas, WY
Bob Columbus—Salt Lake City, UT
Steve Hicks—White Sulpher Spgs, MT
We will publish the names of additional new PLP members in our upcoming issues. On behalf of PLP, thank you for your support!
On October 19, 2015, the Waldo and Galice Mining Districts (of SW Oregon), along with several Oregon mining organizations and individuals, filed a Complaint in the United States District Court in Medford…
Like all federal judges, he swore an oath to perform his duties “impartially… under the Constitution and laws of the U.S.” Nothing in those documents gives Judge Morris authority to order the BLM to work with non-government organizations (the same ones that filed the lawsuit in question) to alter America’s use of energy.
• State attorneys claim the Court of Appeals wrongly relied on South Dakota Mining Association v. Lawrence County regarding federal preemption...
We spent our evening at some informal get-togethers at two private residences in the DC area, which provided the opportunity to talk with staff members from Congress, other agencies, and a few consultants working on public land issues. We found common ground with many of them, and found a strong ally in a former Congressman turned consultant who agreed that Mining Districts provide the smartest legal route...
Keep in mind there are specific steps that must be taken to get your traditional mining district organized if it has fallen into disarray.
There are a few questions you will need to ask yourself before you apply for a suction dredge permit from the State Water Resources Control Board.
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