Miners Making the Rules and Regulations?
October 2015 by Clark Pearson
How would you like it if you could make the actual rules and regulations governing your own business? A dream, right? Well, the existing Federal Mining Law gives a claimholder this ability in the context of organized Mining Districts.
Why are all the multitude of local, state and federal agencies regulating miners? The Mining Districts have been neglecting their duties under Federal Mining Law (30 U.S.C. section 22). This is why the Minerals and Mining Advisory Council (MMAC) was formed as a project under Public Lands for the People (PLP)—to organize the traditionally and legally recorded Mining Districts within the United States and encourage the miners holding mining claims to step up to the plate, legally, and take charge of their future. Presently MMAC has partnered with the Coal Miners Union, the National Mining Association, PLP, and the National Association of Mining Districts. MMAC is a combined effort by numerous concerned miners, mine owners, geologists, mining engineers, retired politicians, retired military personnel, and mining attorneys who are gravely concerned about the future security of our nation and its increased dependence on foreign sources of mined materials. The utter failure of the present Congress and all the federal and state agencies that are actively shuttering the mining industry through onerous and prohibitive regulation has resulted in the exact opposite of the 1970 National Minerals Policy Act intent. MMAC has been asked by the Congressional House Subcommittee on Natural Resources to put together a comprehensive solution to our industry’s plight. MMAC’s solution integrates within this draft bill named the “Minerals & Mining Regulatory Reform Act – A Clear Path Respecting Mining Rights” true accountability providing:
- Regulatory certainty of 30-day approval mitigation deadline
- Regulatory certainty of exemptions to the Clean Water Acts
- Regulatory certainty of exemptions to the Mine Safety and Health Administration
- Eliminates duplicative regulation by state and local governments
- Eliminates duplicative federal agency permits and the permit system
- Provides for Equal Access to Justice Act relief
- Provides for cost effective due process appeal relief for unreasonable regulation
- Reasonable regulatory best management standards and mitigation formation procedures
- Clear environmental standing requirements to eliminate frivolous environmental lawsuits
Now they have come up with a second guide (to be released on May 1) that they believe will allow dredgers in California to resume working.
Toward the end of this summer, we expect another Federal Register notice will be published that deals with Forest Service mining regulations.
Public Lands for the People has established an online petition. We would like to gather thousands of signatures from across the country to show members of Congress that their constituents are supporting this legislation.
We’ve built up some contacts in DC during our trips there over the past four years, and we believe we finally have the correct contacts who can get this petition reviewed by the proper people.
PLP northern director Clark Pearson stated, “Thanks to the U.S. v. Hicks case, the courts have acknowledged that claimholders are owners of land within the National Forest who are exempt.”
Public Lands for the People has agreed to support the US Supreme Court appeal with financial assistance and with the filing of an amicus brief. (We here at the Mining Journal have also agreed to participate in the amicus brief.)
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