Legislative and Regulatory Update
July 2014 by Scott Harn• Settlement hearings
At press time, the mandatory settlement hearings are still pending in San Bernardino, California.
All parties in the suction gold dredge court battle were ordered by Judge Gilbert Ochoa to appear or participate by phone on June 24, with additional dates of June 25 and 26 set aside if needed.
As mentioned last month, this is a good sign. If Judge Ochoa was prepared to rule against the miners, he would have already done so. But case law is in favor of the miners—states are allowed to reasonably regulate mining but cannot prohibit it. The moratorium that began in 2009 is, in effect, a prohibition, and the new regulations promulgated by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife would make it impossible to operate a suction dredge profitably even if the moratorium is lifted.
We will continue to post updates to our website
• Fighting back
You’ll notice some positive articles in this issue about miners fighting back. A few legislators seem to be taking note of the overbearing nature of federal agencies and are lending a hand.
We are certainly happy to see this trend developing and pray it continues.
There is a lesson here. Federal agencies will continue to abuse their authority and restrict our rights if we allow it. Summarize the issues involved in your case and ask for a meeting with your state or federal representative.
Be polite and respectful, but don’t allow government officers or agents to ignore the law.
You are guaranteed to lose your rights if you allow the abuse to continue!
As this issue is mailed, we’re heading off to Idaho for the Occupy Idaho Waters dredging protest. Miners will gather on the Salmon River near Riggins, Idaho, to protest EPA interference with the dredging permit process.
From June 30 through July 6, miners will gather to dredge with the support of county commissioner Jim Chmelik and the local sheriff.
We’ll report on this event in the August issue.
• Idaho miners will challenge new EPA permit at rally
• California proposes to amend definition of a suction dredge
• Proposed rule redefines "navigable waters"
In other words, just like those that move next to an airport and then complain about the noise, Mr. Riskedahl deliberately went out of his way to “witness and document the effects of suction dredge mining,” and when he found some, he was annoyed by it!
Phone or email these Senators and politely express your thoughts and opinions on the pending legislation. (See Legislative and Regulatory Update for more information on the pending legislation.)
• Salazar pushes wilderness
• California Governor signs AB 120
A two-pronged approach is necessary to restore suction dredging; federal preemption needs to be established as addressed above via petition; and clarification from the EPA is needed to establish that no Section 402 permit is necessary when there is no “addition” of a pollutant.
Nevada’s attorney general for the first time is joining a rural county in a 15-year-old legal battle...
The settlement did not grant an immediate approval for the project, but it did begin to clear the way for the company to apply for federal permits—a path the Obama administration previously had thwarted.
The Bawl Mill • A Return to Silver City, Idaho • Ask the Experts • Ask the Experts • Ask the Experts • Swing and a Miss • Miners Fight Back Against Road Closures • The Giant King Mine • BLM Flexes Its Muscles in Quartzsite • Over the Divide • Romancing the Lens • Gold Recovery with Centrifugal Bowls • Mining on the Comstock Lode • Want to Go to Australia? • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices