The consolidated suction dredging court cases in California are still in limbo, waiting for the California Supreme Court to rule on whether federal law preempts state law in the People v. Rinehart case. In other words, can the State of California literally block miners from suction gold dredging, which is allowed by federal law, by creating a permitting scheme with mitigation requirements that are impossible to meet and refusing to issue such permits?
Clark Pearson, northern director for Public Lands for the People (PLP), and I continue to field calls from miners who are ready and willing to get their Mining District organized again and utilize the powers granted to Mining Districts in the 1872 Mining Law. (See "Mining Districts Making the Rules and Regulations?".)
Quite a few calls have been coming in from miners in Idaho. They’ve been dealing with federal agencies that want to throw up roadblocks to miners, while state legislators have been generally supportive. (See “Addressing EPA Overreach—What Dredgers Need to Know” in this issue as a recent example.)
Just prior to our press deadline, we learned that a bill had been introduced in the Idaho House of Representatives to redefine suction gold dredging as a preferred use in public waterways in Idaho. HB 510 recognizes and clarifies that suction dredging does not involve the addition of a pollutant, would allow the use of suction dredges with up to an 8” nozzle size on navigable waters, and declare small-scale prospecting and dredging an allowable activity in Idaho waterways.
If you prospect for gold in Idaho or plan to use a suction dredge, it would be in your best interest to contact legislators in the state to express your support for HB 510 and thank them for their efforts.
I’ve been on the road quite a bit lately, educating folks about Mining Districts. My latest presentation was to the Mother Lode Goldhounds in Auburn, California.
Next month Clark Pearson and I will be giving a presentation on the power of Mining Districts at our Gold Prospecting and Mining Summit in Placerville, California in mid-April. We will take questions at the end of the presentation.
At the end of March, Clark, Joe Martori (Minerals and Mining Advisory Council [MMAC] founder ) and I have been invited to speak at BLM’s Desert Advisory Council meeting in Ridgecrest, California regarding mining laws, granted rights and regulations. We’ve also been invited to Washington, DC to speak to legislators about our proposed bill, the “Minerals and Mining Regulatory Reform Act—A Clear Path Respecting Mining Rights,” but the date and details are still being worked out. (The bill is being revised and condensed at the request of several legislators so it can be considered by Congress—you can read the text of the bill and follow its progress at mmacusa.org.)
Keep checking the “Recent News” section of our website for further updates between issues.
As part of our ongoing support of PLP, we here at ICMJ’s Prospecting and Mining Journal have been offering a discounted membership to PLP. It works like this:
A one-year PLP individual membership is normally $35. You can get a one-year subscription to our monthly publication for $27.95 and include $25 for a PLP membership and we’ll contribute the additional $10 for your one-year PLP membership. If you already have a subscription you can certainly choose to add another year to your subscription to take advantage of this offer. Please call us if you are interested in participating in this offer.
Here are the subscribers who have recently taken advantage of this offer. Thank you for your support!
July 2016 The law is on our side, but we’ve seen some crazy rulings coming out of courtrooms lately. I believe Rinehart will win his case, but then we move on to the State Water Resources Control Board.
The current administration is receptive; we believe the time is ripe to push for a return to reasonable regulations and to restore mining to a priority for public lands as long as some new crisis doesn’t take precedent.
July 2015 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.And 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.
May 2013 Phone or email these Senators and politely express your thoughts and opinions on the pending legislation. (See Legislative and Regulatory Update for more information on the pending legislation.)