Legislative and Regulatory Update
October 2019 by Scott Harn
• WOTUS rule finalized
It’s official. On September 12, the Trump Administration officially repealed the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
In 2014, the Obama administration decided to expand the jurisdiction of the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers beyond navigable waters. WOTUS was redefined to include all areas with even the slightest of connections to water resources, including intermittent streams, and even man-made ditches utilized by farmers, ranchers and miners. The rule was finalized in 2015.
A resulting court fight encompassed several jurisdictions and resulted in differing rules in different parts of the country because District Courts could not agree on a similar interpretation.
Congressman Paul Gosar (R-Arizona), had this to say:
“The Obama-era WOTUS Rule was an abysmal failure and represented one of the most egregious examples of federal overreach in my lifetime. President Obama’s land and water grab gave unprecedented power to bureaucrats of the DC Swamp at the expense of farmers, ranchers, small business owners and the American people. The Western Caucus led the charge against this misguided regulation and is thrilled to see it put out to pasture.”
• Reminder on new claim fees
This is a friendly reminder that the costs associated with filing a new mining claim have gone up.
The new fee for locating a 20-acre claim is $225, which includes a $20 processing fee, $40 location fee, and $165 maintenance fee.
The fees are tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and are reviewed every five years.
Fees can be submitted online at https://payp.blm.gov/eppcore/home (Just click on “Mining Claims” when you visit the page.)
The $800 million project will provide 300 jobs during production. It will be the only US mine where nickel is the primary targeted mineral, with about 360 million pounds to be extracted.
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.”
• Lawsuits galore
• Suction dredging saga continues
• HR 1937 to streamline permitting, remove obstacles to miners
• Sage-grouse debate continues
• More National Monuments
• Hearing date moved up for preliminary injunction for California suction dredging
• Anti-mining bills in Oregon lead to recall effort
• Congress heading into summer recess
• Maintenance fees due!
Met by jeers and cheers from more than 1,000 people, US Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) made another pitch to create three new national monuments in the deserts of southern California recently.
The verdict capped an unusual civil case that combined history, coin collecting and whether the $20 “double eagles” ever legally left the US Mint.
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts - Do you have more info on Silver Peak? • Ask The Experts - Forest Service blocking claim access • Green Valley's Fine Gold Patch • Hard Rock and Placer Gold of Manhattan, Nevada • Gold Prospecting for Better or Worse: Powerless • Revisiting Old Haunts • How to Refine Silver—Pt II • Where to Start: Advice for the Beginning Detectorist • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices