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.
He certainly wasn’t afraid of a fight or a court battle, and he didn’t back away from calling out those who tried to compromise the rights of miners.
Since 2005, a group representing a handful of Oregon and Washington mining organizations, centered around the Eastern Oregon Mining Association (EOMA) and the Waldo Mining District (WMD), have been actively fighting the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) over their then new “700PM Suction Dredge Mining Permit.”
BLM stated we had 30 days to amend our claim so that it fit within one 40-acre square or we would forfeit the claim.
• Good news on EPA regs
• California rewards key appointment to dredging foe
• Republicans seek to block creation of National Monuments
• Zimbabwe threatens seizure of mining rights
...we packed up our two dredges and headed for our claim about an hour away on the South Fork of the Clearwater to dredge openly in opposition to the EPA.
In every sense, this was a witch hunt with a preconceived agenda to heavily restrict or outright prohibit most small-scale mining in Oregon.
The Bureau of Land Management announced an increase in location filing fees and annual maintenance fees for unpatented mining claims, mill sites and tunnel sites.
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