Legislative and Regulatory Update
June 2006 by Scott Harn
• SREP appeals
Last month we reported that the Siskiyou Regional Education Project (SREP) had their case dismissed on appeal. They had filed a lawsuit against the Siskiyou National Forest in an attempt to require a Plan of Operation and financial guarantee (bond) for all mining located in or near a waterway.
Judge Cooney originally ruled in favor of the Forest Service. SREP appealed to the District Court and Judge Michael R. Hogan dismissed the appeal.
SREP has now appealed the case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Public Lands for the People, which intervened to assist miners in the case, has filed briefs in support of the Forest Service. We will continue to follow this case as it progresses.
• No decision yet in Karuk case
The Karuk Tribe’s lawsuit against the California Department of Fish & Game (DFG) in Alameda County, California, is still waiting for a decision by Judge Bonnie Sabraw.
Judge Sabraw will decide whether or not to sign an agreement reached between the Karuks and DFG behind closed doors that would close off several northern California rivers to dredging and place severe restrictions on others.
It appears that DFG did not follow required procedures for rulemaking, nor did they follow required procedures for establishing emergency regulations. Several mining organizations have been granted intervenor status by the court.
We expect the judge will opt out of signing the original agreement and the case will proceed to trial. We’ll keep you posted.
• Right to Access bill
Mike Smith, owner of Pro Mack South, informed us that a legislative proposal has been submitted to US Representative Rick Renzi of Arizona.
The proposed legislation, titled “Our Right to Public Lands Access,” was originally submitted by Arizona resident Deborah Strole. It would remove some of the burden regarding environmental studies and permitting from small miners and place that responsibility back on government agencies.
The proposal has been languishing in Representative Renzi’s office. What is needed are letters of support to show Representative Renzi that there is actual support, in numbers, from concerned citizens.
Interested parties can read the entire text of the proposed legislation in the “Pending Rules, Regulations, Projects” section of our website at www.icmj.com
Smith also provided us with a sample letter that can be sent along to Congressman Renzi. Feel free to use it or develop your own.
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