Legislative and Regulatory Update
December 2005 by Scott Harn
• Oregon proposes to stop mining in “scenic” waterways
A notice sent out by Oregon Department of State Lands assistant director John Lilly stated that the agency is proposing to prevent placer mining in waters designated as “scenic.”
According to Lilly, the Oregon legislature ordered the agency to complete a review of Scenic Waterway Removal-Fill Permit rules by December 31, 2005. If the review is not completed by this date, dredge permits for scenic waterways would no longer be valid per Sections 3 & 4, chapter 499, Oregon Laws 2001.
Instead of emphasizing the benefits of dredging, including the redistribution of food for aquatic organisms and fish and the removal of mercury, the Oregon Department of State Lands proposes repealing the provisions that allow placer mining in all scenic waterways.
Current scenic waterways include portions of the Clackamas, Deschutes, Upper Deschutes, Illinois, John Day, Owyhee, Rogue, Sandy, the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette, Little North Fork of the Santiam, and all of the Minam River. Under the proposal, it appears that any future scenic waterway designation would also become off-limits.
We are aware this information will arrive too late for most of readers to make the public hearings scheduled for November 28 in Wilsonville and November 30 in Medford; however, many will receive it in time to submit comments. The public comment deadline is December 9, 2005. The text of the proposed rules can be found at www.oregonstatelands.us
Constructive comments can be sent to Nicole Kielsmeier, Administrative Rules Coordinator, Department of State Lands, 775 Summer St. NE, Salem, OR 97310. Fax: (503) 378-4844. Phone: (503) 378-3805.
• More news from Oregon
Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski filed a petition asking the USDA to allow the state to adopt the Clinton Roadless Rule.
The Roadless Rule was dropped by the Bush administration after a Wyoming judge declared it illegal. It would have prevented development, including logging and mining, in roadless areas throughout the US. A new rule was created that allows governors to collaborate with the federal government on how to manage roadless areas.
Forest Service spokesman Dan Jiron said the petition was rejected, partly because Oregon has joined with California and New Mexico in a lawsuit against the current administration to try and force the adoption of the Clinton Roadless Rule.
USDA Undersecretary Mark Rey stated, “It would be more constructive for Oregon to withdraw from the current legal proceedings and engage the department in a good faith discussion of protection for roadless area values in Oregon. We are confident that such discussions would lead to a reasonable and ultimately successful outcome.”
• Interior Department finally back online
Some websites for the Interior Department, including the Bureau of Land Management, are finally back online after an appeals court lifted an order by Judge Lamberth of the US District Court.
Lamberth had ordered the shutdown for the fourth time following claims from litigants in an Indian trust fund case who claimed that data on royalties collected was not secure.
Some sites are not yet back but should be shortly.
• Alaska DNR departures
Six members of Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources resigned following the departure of commissioner Tom Irwin.
Irwin had written a memo criticizing the state’s negotiations with oil producers and questioning the legality of concessions made by the state. He reportedly sent the memo to four state officials, including state Attorney General David Marquez, and the governor’s three offices via email.
Marquez issued an opinion that the governor “has broad authority to negotiate contracts on the state’s behalf and to propose legislation. The fact that you and your staff may have a different vision of what best serves the interests of the state as compared to others in the administration does not make their judgments—or yours—on fundamental policy issues either unlawful or improper.”
Governor Frank Murkowski stated, “I expect every member of my cabinet to confer with me on major policy issues, major policy disputes, as they arise.”
Improvements in mining equipment and techniques, along with a higher gold price, make many mining properties profitable today that may not have been in the past.
• Pan American Silver Corp.
• Mountain Province Mining Inc.
• Canyon Resources Corp.
A proposed silver and copper mine that would burrow under a wilderness area in northwestern Montana will not affect bull trout, nor will it harm grizzly bears so long as some additional precautions are taken, federal wildlife authorities said.
Palladium may well be an underexplored element and therefore an opportunity for prospectors and geologists. This is because they are often less than obvious and other than the native metals, a chemical analysis of samples is required to identify PGM-enriched rocks.
Heading north into Tuolumne County on California’s Highway 49—the “Golden Highway”—from Mariposa County, you see few traces of the gold rush days because the largest mining town of the period is now covered by Don Pedro Reservoir. If you slow down and take a careful look, along the shores of the lake are numerous streaks of tailings that mark the mines of the old town of Jacksonville.
Alluvial fans are essentially dry land “deltas” which can be found in all climates. However, they are best developed in arid and semi-arid regions, where they may be many square miles in area. They are built up by outpourings of silt, sand, and gravel caused by seasonal run-off, as well as by boulders and cobbles carried by flash floods.
The Klamath Mountain province includes a number of separate mountain ranges, such as the Bully Choop, Marble, Salmon, Siskiyou, Trinity Alps, and Yolla Bolly, among others. They are collectively referred to as the “Klamath Mountains” in this article.
The Bawl Mill • Pombo Bill to Provide Some Relief for Miners • Gemstones in Wyoming—Part I • Gateway Gold and Jerritt Canyon • The Koyukuk-Nolan Goldfields • Miners Come Out On Top in SREP v. USFS • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices • Melman on Gold & Silver • Looking Back • Company Notes • Adding Shine to Your Portfolio • Picks & Pans: Nuggetshooting Around Cactus • Tales of California Gold Discoveries 4th in a Series—Pay Attention When You Dig