Let us help you recover valuable metals. 888-437-1187

Magazine

Legislation & Regulation

MMAC & PLP Update

On July 4, we are reminded of the sacrifices our Founding Fathers made to establish this great country of ours, and in that spirit, the Minerals and Mining Advisory Council (MMAC) has created a draft Declaration of Miners. Please take a moment to review it. MMAC administrators will be asked to be signatories to the Declaration of Miners to show one, unified voice.
 
MMAC’s goal is to provide assistance to traditional mining districts so miners can return to mining under reasonable regulations.
In addition, MMAC has been hard at work writing a bill, with the unwavering support of several members of Congress, to reaffirm the rights of miners operating in traditional mining districts. The bill has been thoroughly researched and is now in the hands of competent mining attorneys for their review, and we are happy to publish the draft of the Mineral Regulatory Reform Act in its entirety. Please click on the image to read the draft bill in .pdf format.

And remember to visit mmacusa.org mmacusa.org if you need assistance with assistance organizing your mining district or to stay abreast of the latest developments.
_______________
 
Public Lands for the People (PLP) has been instrumental in helping miners maintain access to public lands for decades and have taken a lead role in fighting overzealous regulations. The recent case of People v. Godfrey is one such case.
 
John Godfrey is a small-scale gold miner in Northern California. He had a small settling pond and carried gravels over to a sluice box after cleaning out bedrock cracks of possible gold-bearing material.
 
In August 2014, John was issued a citation by the US Forest Service that listed five separate violations. These included:
  • Count One: Unauthorized cutting and damaging of any timber, tree and forest product. Violation of 36 C.F.R 261.6 (a)
  • Count Two: Causing timber, trees, slash, brush and grass to burn without a permit. Violation of 36 C.F.R 261.5 (c)
  • Count Three: Damaging any natural feature or property of the United States. Violation of 36 C.F.R. 261.9 (a)
  • Count Four: Unauthorized trail and significant surface disturbance on Forest Service managed lands. Violation of 36 C.F.R. 261.10 (a)
  • Count Five: Placing in or near a creek any substance which may pollute. Violation of 36 C.F.R 261.11 (c)
The New 49’ers legal defense fund and PLP helped defend John Godfrey and worked with the Public Defender. In September 2014, a judge found John “not guilty” on counts one and two, but ruled he was guilty of counts three through five.
 
Clark Pearson, northern director for PLP, contacted attorney James Buchal for assistance, and the New 49’ers and PLP provided further assistance to the Public Defender on the appeal. On June 2, 2015, the District Court of Appeal reversed the conviction on count five but affirmed counts three and four.
 
PLP and attorney Buchal believe this case is very winnable and must be appealed. A win on appeal would set a positive precedence that can be used to prevent further harassment of miners in similar circumstances. PLP voted unanimously to take up and fund the 9th Circuit appeal for John Godfrey to overturn counts three and four.
 
PLP would also like to thanks miners for their continued support. Tax-deductible donations are always welcome and can be made to specifically fund this case at:
 
Public Lands for the People
20209 Ventura Blvd, Ste 47-466
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
 
We also want to mention that Judge Gilbert Ochoa was scheduled to meet with attorneys and plaintiffs in the ongoing suction gold dredging litigation on June 23. Unfortunately this was after our press deadline, so you will find an update on this meeting on our website at www.icmj.com

The main focus of the meeting was to provide some relief for miners. Judge Ochoa had already ruled that state law cannot preempt federal law, but suction dredgers were still being told by the Department of Fish and Game that dredging remained illegal without a permit and no permits were being issued.
 
Our bonus offer to support PLP is still available! Get a one-year subscription or add a year to your current subscription and you can get a discounted PLP membership. (We will contribute $10 toward the cost of your PLP membership.) Just give us a call to take advantage of the offer.
 
Here are the latest subscribers who took advantage of this offer:
   Donald Patty—Barstow, CA
   Wesley Buist—Veyo, UT
   Tony Nicholas—Kittitas, WA
 
The People v. Rinehart case is still ongoing. This case also addressed federal preemption of state law—the state cannot prohibit suction gold dredging, which they have done by requiring a permit but refusing to issue one. 
 
Rinehart appealed his conviction for dredging without a permit and attorney James Buchal argued that he should have been allowed to present evidence related to federal preemption. The Court of Appeals agreed, remanded the case back to the lower court, and published the decision so it could be used in other cases. The State of California appealed the Appellate Court decision to the California Supreme Court and briefs have been filed. It should be noted that Pacific Legal Foundation joined the fight, supporting Rinehart’s assertion that federal law preempts state law. We don’t have a firm date for a decision, but we’ll certainly keep you posted.
© ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal, CMJ Inc.
Next Article »« Previous Article

Add a Comment

Additional articles that might interest you...

What Is Incidental Fallback?


If you take the time to read the instructions that are included with a 404 permit application you will find the words “other than incidental fallback” in the application instructions.

Suction Gold Dredge Miners Win On Federal Preemption


Judge Ochoa went so far as to call the California permit scheme “unenforceable.”

Northwestern Alaska Mineral Resources


Gold and jade are actually only minor mineral resources for the Northwestern Alaska region as a whole. Modern prospecting has focused more on base metal than precious metal resources.

Legislative and Regulatory Update


• Hearing date moved up for preliminary injunction for California suction dredging
• Anti-mining bills in Oregon lead to recall effort

Legislative and Regulatory Update


• Anti-dredging bill SB 637 passes

Legislative and Regulatory Update


• Oregon passes SB 838
• Meanwhile, in California

PLP Update: Back to The 'Swamp' on Behalf of Small Miners


We spent the morning in a meeting with one of the higher-ups at the US Forest Service. I presented him with 412 complaints received from our readers, along with a summary of the complaints to make his job easier.

Subscription Required:
The Bawl Mill   • Ask The Experts   • Ask The Experts   • Trail to Treasure   • The Smell of Gold -- Part II   • Hard Rock University: Expensive Hobby or Real Business?   • The Reason We Fight   • My Great Nevada Adventure   • Prospecting for Pegmatites   • Melman on Gold & Silver   • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices

Free:
Legislative and Regulatory Update

Advertisements

Garrett Electronics - trusted by real miners & prospectors!
Precious Metals Recovery plants and equipment
Fighting to keep public lands open to the public
Specializing in the processing of precious metal ores!
Watch prospecting shows on your computer right now
Free Online Sample Issue