Legislative and Regulatory Update
October 2006 by Scott Harn
• Make your votes count
American citizens have responded strongly to a 2006 US Supreme Court decision (Kelo v. City of London) that allowed a city to seize private property by eminent domain.
Voters in numerous states have obtained enough signatures to place strongly worded measures on state ballots that will either curb or outlaw the use of eminent domain.
In addition, many of these measures will require state and local governments to provide just compensation for any new government regulations that restrict the use of private property or otherwise devalue private property.
A sampling shows measures will be on the ballot in numerous states to provide just compensation for new regulations, to prevent seizure by eminent domain, or both, in California (Proposition 90), Washington (Initiative 933), Idaho (Proposition 2), Arizona (Measure 207), Nevada (Nevada Property Owner’s Bill of Rights) and Montana (Initiative 154).
Oregon voters already passed a measure that requires compensation for government regulations, but a new initiative (Measure 39) seeks to prevent a government body from condemning private property if the intent is to convey that property to another private entity.
Please check your ballot and be sure to vote in the General Election on November 6, 2006.
• Court tells Forest Service many access fees are illegal
A federal court in Arizona has told the Forest Service that it can no longer collect user fees for many activities, with implications for hundreds of collection programs across the US.
In this particular case, a hiker was issued citations on two separate occasions for failure to pay a $5 access fee when parking on public lands administered by the Forest Service in the Mt. Lemmon area of Arizona.
The court ruled that the Forest Service was unlawfully charging for general access. Magistrate Judge Charles Pyle stated the Forest Service could only charge fees to citizens who use fully developed parking sites with amenities or fully-developed campgrounds. The judge ruled the Forest Service does not have the authority to collect fees for use of trails, for parking along roads, or for undeveloped, minimally developed or semi-developed sites. The agency is also prohibited from charging for camping at undeveloped sites.
The case is US v. Christine M. Wallace.
• Kensington update
Coeur d’Alene Mines has to negotiate another curve in the road for its Kensington Mine project after the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction that halted some of the construction necessary for the project.
Environmentalists appealed a lower court decision that allowed the company to place waste rock in Lower Slate Lake northwest of Juneau, Alaska.
The injunction applies to cutting trees, building roads or dams and altering the water level of the lake, and will remain in place until the appeal runs its course. Construction of the mine and mill will continue.
It turns out the old Anaconda Co. really did have 10,000 miles of tunnels beneath this mining city. That’s one of the findings by researchers who have produced a new map that charts the thousands of underground mine shafts here, providing a detailed look at some of Butte’s mining history.
Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper might well have been correct about the “Santa Fe de Rodríquez” being the name of what is now called Guaynopa. However, an Indian named Agustín de la Cruz, who was associated with Cristóbal Rodríquez, is credited with discovering the mine in 1741. It is probable that the Spanish settlement had indeed been found because of its rather extensive ruins.
The amount of gold in the traces from the low-grade scattered veinlets may be much more than the traces from the small but rich pocket, at least until the pocket hunter closes in on the rich pocket. Further confusion arises if the prospector stumbles across a placer deposit on one of the higher peaks.
Oil is a naturally occurring combustible fluid of organic origin that is commonly found in California and in many other parts of the world.
The Treasure Hawk mine was operated by "Crazy Eddie" Bounsall from 1972 until 1988. He died in 1994, and I purchased the Treasure Hawk claims from his wife Betty in 1996.
Goodnews Bay Platinum Mine, owned by Hanson Industries in Spokane, Washington, has resurrected a 60-year-old bucketline dredge to claw the steel-gray metal from the river drainages around Red Mountain on Cape Nushagak.
Right away I got a target, and it ended up being gold from a nice little bench. With only an hour left of daylight, I continued heading upstream and found five more tiny pieces of gold with my VLF…
The Bawl Mill • The Plumas Eureka District • California State Gold Panning Championships • Mergers Continue at Record Pace • The Yukon-Klonkide Goldfields—Part II • Foreign Investment Hits More Roadblocks • The Treasure Detective—Part IV The Story of Goldstone Nuggets • Another Uranium Boom in the West • Court: Kennecott Eagle Minerals Application Complete • Remote Mining Camps of Yuma County • The Robin Redbreast Lode • Final Buckhorn Mountain Study Released • Melman on Gold & Silver