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 On September 12, the Trump Administration officially repealed the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.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.)
• Idaho challenges EPA regulations
• California suction gold dredging
Another California Assembly member, Jared Huffman, is attempting to ban dredging in the state on a more permanent basis.
As a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits, I’m not allowed to talk about specifics in the court-ordered negotiations currently underway in San Bernardino. However, I do want to let you know we are making progress…
Renewed interest in mining of gold, silver, copper and other metals in Aroostook County's Bald Mountain triggered 2012 legislation requiring the overhaul of the state's two-decade-old mining regulations.
• More roadblocks in southern California
• Greater Sage-grouse withdrawals
The Colorado Mining Association is asking the US Supreme Court to review a 2001 rule that largely barred new roads on 58 million acres of roadless areas in national forests.
The paper’s crack reporters filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act, demanding public release of “secret” emails explaining why the Interior Department recommended, and President Trump approved, shrinking Bears’ Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments.
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