Legislative and Regulatory Update
October 2008 by Scott Harn• Voters say "yes" to mining in Alaska
Alaska voters defeated an attempt by environmentalists to place severe restrictions on mining.
Measure 4 would have imposed two water quality standards on any new large-scale mines in Alaska. Had it passed, it would have restricted new large mines, like the $300 billion Pebble project, from releasing chemicals that could be deemed toxic into waterways.
The measure was defeated, 43% in favor to 57% opposed.
• Colorado cyanide ban case presented
The Colorado Mining Association’s challenge of a cyanide ban in Summit County reached the Colorado Supreme Court. Arguments were presented on September 9.
Summit County banned the use of cyanide for mining in 2004. The mining association was able to get the ban overturned in district court, but the state Court of Appeals later sided with the county. Additional counties followed with their own cyanide bans, including Conejos, Costilla, Gilpin and Gunnison.
The case is No. 05CA1996.
• New small-scale regulations released in Washington State
The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) released new regulations governing small-scale mining in mid-August, following literally years of negotiations with stakeholders.
While the resulting regulations are much better than what the WDFW was trying to force on miners at the start of the process, the new regulations still leave much to be desired. The agency still attempts to rely on data that they have not been able to back up with science to establish "timing windows" for prospecting in waterways in Washington State.
Unfortunately, the comment deadline on the new regulations was September 26, 2008. The short deadline did not allow us time to notify all of our readers who may have been interested in submitting comments. We did, however, post this information on our website, and many concerned readers have commented on the regulations.
Mark Erickson of the Resources Coalition, a group that has been leading the battle to rewrite Washington’s overzealous regulations, stated, "The regulations are much better than what Fish and Wildlife tried to implement initially. We’ve made some really good progress. But they still won’t provide the science to support these timing windows."
• Colorado roadless areas
The US Forest Service has published rules pertaining to roadless areas in Colorado. The full document is lengthy—23 pages total—and can be viewed at: http://roadless.fs.fed.us/documents/colorado_roadless/fr_co_rule.pdf
We have also placed a link to the document on our website under the Pending Rules & Regulations tab.
Those who wish to maintain access to current or historic mining areas should send in constructive comments. Comments are due by October 23, 2008.
Written comments can be submitted to:
Roadless Area Conservation—Colorado
PO Box 162909
Sacramento, CA 95816–2909
Comments can be faxed to: (916) 456-6724
Comments can be emailed to: COcomments@fsroadless.org
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It is likely that few tourists passing through the crowning glory of the Canadian Rocky Mountains in northeastern British Columbia would be aware that this spectacular region is the focal point of the search for one of earth’s most intriguing metals—tantalum.
Members of the Rocky Mountain Prospectors and Treasure Hunters Club from Fort Collins, Colorado, were recently entertained by W. Dan Hausel, Senior Economic Geologist with the Wyoming State Geological Survey.
Any illusions that the world had become a safer place were certainly put into serious doubt by events over the past few weeks. During that time we have seen a major Israeli incursion into Gaza in retaliation for Hamas attacks on Israel, huge public demonstrations and accusations of fraud regarding the recent election in Mexico and, most recently, terrorist bombings in Mumbai (Bombay), India, which killed about two hundred people and seriously disrupted India’s financial center.
Over 7 million ounces of gold have been produced in the Klamath Mountains of northwestern California, 64% of which has been from placers.
There are several counties around Shasta County that offer very good gold detecting. Many of these locations are old hydraulic pits. While detecting these old pits over the years I have come up with some ideas on how to go about hunting them.
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