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.
Besides the EPA issue, our major priority is to work on the proposed amendment to the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act (S 145), a bill proposed in the Senate by US Senator Dean Heller (R-Nevada).
This ruling comes at an opportune time, just as suction dredge miners are dealing with new proposed regulations in several western states. Be sure to cite this case when you provide comments on the regulations!
Those miners present immediately recognized the benefits of becoming members of MMAC and joined up on the spot. I spent some time answering a few questions, and then the miners took over.
• Court says ESA does not apply in some cases
• Comments needed for proposed critical habitat in several Western states
• EPA still trying to rewrite the Clean Water Act
• Enough already!
• Now is the time to act
• Big win by a California suction gold dredger
• Administration locks up another popular gold mining area
• BLM creates de facto wilderness without Congressional approval
The approval, which affects 87 acres on the south end of Silver City, allows the company to move forward with exploration to determine the area's mining potential.
• 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