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
Mother lodes and placers get found, finds become prospector’s stories, stories become legends, legends become myths, and myths become the fodder for armchair prospectors and daydreams. Over the decades, the Canadian province of British Columbia has had more than its share of legends and myths ascribed to it.
Scientists from the state Department of Natural Resources reported that they recently discovered the highest concentrations of gold particles ever found in the state during routine soil sampling near Soudan.
There are literally thousands of abandoned wasterock and ore dumps that dot the United States that could hold many tones of strategic metals.
Pickering Bar on the North Fork of the American River is a fascinating place. It’s remote, taking almost two hours to get there from the small mining town of Iowa Hill, which is in Placer County, California.
New core samples taken near Caribou, not far from the Continental Divide at the edge of Boulder County, show the potential for major production in coming years, an owner of the mine says.
• The 75-ounce Butte County nugget is the largest found in California since the 156-ounce Mojave nugget in the 1970s...
The Bawl Mill • Dredging at Real Del Castillo, Baja • Finding Paystreak Gold With A Metal Detector • General Metals Continues Toward Production • Cedar Rim Opal—Discovery of a Giant Opal Field • "I Got Dusted" • The Trail of ‘98 • Newmont Steps Up For Laid Off Workers • Benton’s Rich Silver • Gold Trader, Employee Charged with Wife’s Killing • Is There A Gold Shortage? • Wyoming Governor Pushes for Uranium Study Release • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices • California State Open and US National Gold Panning Championships