Legislative and Regulatory Update
September 2014 by Scott Harn• Show of support needed for anti-EPA bills
Senator Tom Barrasso (R- Wyoming) introduced S 2496, which would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from expanding their authority to regulate seasonal ponds, ditches, and other non-navigable waterways by blocking the rule change the agency proposed in March 2014.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously passed HR 5078, a similar bill to rein in the EPA.
Please contact your legislators and ask them to support these bills. You can locate their contact information online at: www.usa.gov/Contact/US-Congress.shtml
• Arizona mining data now online
The Arizona Geological Survey announced the agency has made much of their valuable data available online at http://minedata.azgs.az.gov
On the website you can search for mines by name or location, look them up via a map search, and browse through their database of photos.
• California suction dredge hearings
There’s not a whole lot to report, though there is a way you can help.
As we mentioned previously, Judge Gilbert Ochoa ruled back on June 25, 2014, that he was continuing the hearings until September 2014. It’s likely he’s waiting until there is a ruling in from the Third Appellate Court in the case of Brandon Rinehart.
Rinehart was fined $832 and given three years probation for dredging without a permit on his own federal mining claim. Obviously, he was unable to obtain a permit because the state of California refused to issue them.
Rinehart pled guilty in the case while retaining his right to appeal. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for September 15, 2014.
In the meantime, you can lend a hand by supporting Public Lands for the People, and there are several ways you can do this.
PLP has been running eBay auctions on a fairly continuous basis, selling donated gold and other items. Check out the items they have for sale at www.ebay.com/usr/p.l.p.1991
There’s also a fundraising event and celebration called PLP Octoberfest that will be held in Randsburg, California on October 18 & 19, 2014.
The event, sponsored by American Prospector Treasure Seeker and Sleepy Bear Mining, is geared toward all ages and all outdoor enthusiasts, and will feature a BBQ, raffle, campfires and live entertainment.
A $30.00 donation is requested for adults; $6.00 for ages 17 and under. Advanced registration is required so they can ensure there will be sufficient food on-hand. Please RSVP by September 22, 2014. More information is available online at www.aptsgold.com/Drywashing-Gold.html
Hope to see you there!
• Update on Forest Service abuse in Washington
In our July 2014 issue we reported on a miner named Tony Nicholas, who operates a small mine in Liberty, Washington.
Nicholas, a disabled veteran, had his approval denied by the Forest Service when he sought to use a backhoe to remove debris from a slide that blocked the opening to his mine.
Nicholas sought assistance from his Washington State Representative Matt Manweller, and negotiations with the Forest Service ensued. During negotiations the agency admitted they had confiscated Nicholas’ backhoe and other equipment, though they were unable to locate the appropriate paperwork and the status of the equipment was unknown.
The Forest Service still refused to approve use of a backhoe or other equipment, so a volunteer party was organized to lend a hand.
On Sunday, June 22, over 50 volunteers—including miners, veterans, and even some former Forest Service employees—used wheelbarrows, shovels and picks to clear the debris and reopen the mine.
“My sincere hope is that the Forest Service decides to come back to the table, but not until they start operating with honesty and integrity towards the citizens they have been entrusted to help,” said Manweller. “And a good first step towards righting these wrongs would be to return Tony’s equipment.”
• "Not a pollutant"
• Thank you Senator Sessions
• California suction dredging
• EPA uses secret email accounts
• Our Federal Landlord
• One down, two to go
• Challenging timing windows in Washington State
• More roadblocks to mining
• Oregon dredging bill defeated
• California bill would exempt dredgers from permitting
• Possible ESA listing
• Washington State tries to impose more fees on miners
- New Deputy Secretary of Interior
- Case against dredger allowed to proceed
• It's almost November
• Two federal land managers found guilty of contempt
• A chance to halt additional wilderness in Southern California
• Oregon mineral withdrawal
• A really good reason to get out and vote in Oregon
It was a milestone day in the battle to maintain the rights of miners to dredge on federal mining claims in California.
We all know that it was never Congress’ intent to regulate gold panners and other individual mine operators through MSHA. In fact, I believe the concept of owner-operated mines with no employees was so strange a concept to the lawmakers that they never even thought there would be a need for such an exemption.
The Bawl Mill • Ask the Experts • Ask the Experts • Taking on the EPA, Sasquatch, Ratchilla and Gold Dredging • Gully Prospecting and Mining • Wilfley Tables—Repair, Rebuild & Set Up • Designing and Evaluating Placer Gold Recovery Plants • Finding Streams of Gold • This is Why You Check Your Tailings • Lode or Placer: What Difference Does It Make? • New Rules to Impact the Lease/Buy Decision • There's a First Time for Everyone • Appeals Court OKs Permits for Upper Peninsula Mine • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices