Our federal government continues to throw roadblocks up throughout the Western states to keep miners and other public lands users off public lands.
In Southern California, the West Mojave Route Network Project travel management planning effort covers 9.24 million acres. Federal agencies are working on a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that will “form the framework for route designation in the West Mojave area.”
The planning area encompasses parts of San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Kern, Inyo and Riverside counties, including many areas that are rich in minerals and metals.
Public comments are due by January 25, 2016, and may be emailed to email@example.com or mailed to:
BLM has proposed over 10 million acres be withdrawn from mineral entry and other uses in multiple Western states as critical habitat for the Greater Sage-grouse. In fact, these lands have already been segregated for two years while the Secretary of the Interior claims she is collecting public comments before she decides whether or not to withdraw the areas from new mining claims for the next 20 years.
The Fish and Wildlife Service already issued a decision of “not warranted” on the Greater Sage-grouse as a threatened or endangered species, but BLM went ahead with the mineral withdrawal to accomplish the same goal of locking up the lands.
BLM states that valid, existing rights will be honored, but this provides no protection for those miners who are still in the exploration or development stage, nor does it allow for the discovery of additional valuable mineral and metal deposits.
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.