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.
We are in the planning stages for our next trip to DC. Clark and I are looking at returning after the mid-term elections, probably around the end of November or early December, to continue discussions with members of Congress…
On Tuesday morning, August 26, 2010, my clients Michael and Linda Backlund were forced to plead guilty to a charge of violating 36 CFR §261.10(b), which criminalizes maintaining a residence on Forest Service land without authorization “when such authorization is required.” This is a new regulation pursuant to which virtually anything, even a tent, is an unlawful “residence” unless authorized in advance.
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.
You have made your presence known with the BLM or Forest Service, placed Mining District signs along the entrance points to your district, and found support with other local miners. But how do you gain popular support?
Manderfield’s ruling opens the way for Kennecott Eagle to begin blasting. The company has declined to say when it will start. A spokeswoman said drilling would begin “in the coming weeks".
Judge Ochoa went so far as to call the California permit scheme “unenforceable.”
• California dredging update
• Study: Sage grouse does not need protection
• Tennessee enacts harsh new gold prospecting regulations
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