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...

Mining Districts in Montana Get Organized


Those miners present immediately recognized the benefits of becoming members of MMAC and joined up on the spot. I spent some time answering a few questions, and then the miners took over.

Jury: Gov't Rightfully Seized 1933 Gold Coins


The verdict capped an unusual civil case that combined history, coin collecting and whether the $20 “double eagles” ever legally left the US Mint.

Oregon Miners File for Summary Judgment


On November 30, 2015, the Galice Mining District (with the support of the Waldo Mining District), along with several Oregon mining associations and individuals, filed a Motion for Summary Judgment against the State of Oregon and SB 838...

Legislative and Regulatory Update


• IBLA rules against miner for "late" filing
• Wyoming appeals roadless decision
• Mercury reduction program slated for California
• Oregon wilderness
• Oregon miner prevails in lawsuit against Forest Service and District Ranger
• Canada pulls out of Kyoto Climate Treaty

Minnesota Lawmakers Move to Stop New Mines


Companion bills set to be proposed by state lawmakers and US Rep. Betty McCollum seek to block copper mining on federal lands…

Alaska: Large-Scale Mining Can Be Done Right


"As elected leaders of the State of Alaska, we want you to know that Alaska is open to investment from those who seek to develop our state's natural resources safely and responsibly..."

Annual Claim Fees Due September 3, 2013


Because September 1 falls on a Sunday this year; and Monday, September 2, is a holiday, the BLM will accept yearly filings through September 3.

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

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