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!
• IBLA rules against miner for "late" filing
• Wyoming appeals roadless decision
• Mercury reduction program slated for California
• Oregon wilderness
• Oregon miner prevails in lawsuit against Forest Service and District Ranger
• Canada pulls out of Kyoto Climate Treaty
Tomten concedes the scenario of federal environmental agents swooping in on river dredges near historic mining towns like Idaho City, Rocky Bar or Placerville remains unlikely.
Alaska Governor Sean Parnell has ordered an investigation of the recent raids, saying he will not tolerate a state agency's participation in the sort of conduct displayed.
• PLP continues the fight for miners' rights
• Oregon miners fight back
• Bills address strategic minerals
• Hike in mining claim fees
• Hearing on suction gold dredging in California
• Interior wants mining reform
I’ve received quite a few inquiries from miners who are beginning to realize that traditional Mining Districts are powerful entities and they are looking to get their district organized if it’s in disarray.
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