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.
Quarry operators would face tighter state regulations under proposed legislation that moved a step closer to approval recently.
Chad, Bangladesh, Peru, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are the latest in a long list of countries that have become unfavorable toward foreign-owned mining companies.
I thought I’d try something totally different—a large area of small material tailings. After about an hour of digging and test panning we both had more gold than all the other digs combined.
I didn’t know what to expect because the area we were working was not close to the water, but we were pleasantly surprised when we began to pan out some nice flakes and a few pickers.
If the material drops down out of the hopper too fast, it can overwhelm the riffles and you can blow the gold right out. If it runs too slowly, the riffles can clog up and the process is too slow.
On a beautiful day in 1971, my wife and I were scratching around some old miner's camp when I dug up a metal gold pan and thought I would try my hand at panning for gold. (mistake #1)
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