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
At one time or another, many miners will look seriously at purchasing a mining claim...Usually it’s a significant financial commitment, so how do you know if you are getting a good deal?
• Bill to address RS 2477
• Roadless Rule update
This was not a month for the weak-hearted. During the past thirty days, we have had an explosive intensification of the Middle East conflict, threats of OPEC using the “Oil Weapon” once again, a growing chain of events flowing out of the Enron collapse and...
The Washington Department of Natural Resources appeared at a recent dredge rally near Oroville to announce the closure of all state-owned aquatic lands to prospecting.
There are literally thousands of abandoned wasterock and ore dumps that dot the United States that could hold many tones of strategic metals.
Our destination was some old hydraulic workings where the old miners had washed literally mountains of material away to expose gold in ancient river channels.
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