July 2017 by Scott Harn
National Advisors Clark Pearson and Joe Martori of the Minerals and Mining Advisory Council (MMAC) are in Washington, DC, as I write this.
Unfortunately, I could not go this time due to a prior important commitment. Instead I was in Wyoming, speaking with about ninety miners who are interested in learning how Mining Districts work and how they can assert their rights as federally recognized, MMAC-assisted Mining Districts.
Pearson and Martori have been meeting with members of Congress to educate them about mining, strategic and critical minerals and metals, the lack of access due to closed roads and routes, and to offer up a solution with MMACs proposed bill and amendments. They will be in DC for a full week, focusing on the Senate side on this trip.
Pearson said the meetings were going better than they could have possibly hoped for so far. This is the third trip MMAC has made to DC this year, so some of the congressional staff members are gaining a better understanding of the current problems miners face and how MMAC-assisted Mining Districts can alleviate those problems.
Some of their scheduled meetings, which were expected to last 20-25 minutes each, went well beyond an hour because the Senators wanted to know exactly how Mining Districts work and how they can assist both small-scale and large-scale miners.
An organized, MMAC-assisted Mining District can obtain federal recognition if the proper steps are followed. (You can read a detailed explanation in the “MMAC Update” published in the April 2017 issue.)
One of the most common questions received from members of Congress is, “Who are my constituents?” They want to know who they are fighting for. This is a crucial part of the puzzle. Shortly after being elected, members of Congress are already focusing on re-election. They need to know they have your support. If you are part of a MMAC-assisted Mining District, please send a letter to MMAC so it can be delivered during these congressional meetings. You can address that letter to your Representative and Senators. You need to be polite and to the point. List the various problems you are having with access or other issues with federal, state or local agencies, and close the letter by asking them to support MMAC and their proposed bills and amendments. You can email the letter to email@example.com and it will be personally delivered on your behalf during one of our trips to DC.
If you are a claimholder and are not part of an organized, MMAC-assisted Mining District, you need to get moving so you are not left behind when these bills and amendments get passed. Review the “MMAC Update” article in our April 2017 issue on page 21 for instructions on modernizing your Mining District and contact MMAC if you need additional assistance. You can direct questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at the Mining Journal if needed.
With the current President and makeup of Congress, we have a window of opportunity here that we may not see again for many years. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.
One caller wondered why he should be required to join MMAC, asked why MMAC was not a non-profit, and compared it to some kind of extortion attempt. If he had questions like these, I assume there are others with similar questions and I will address them here.
We are quite pleased to report there are some courageous miners who have taken the time to learn their rights and have gone back to dredging while knowing they could be unlawfully harassed at any time by law enforcement…
A mining right is a powerful and not commonly understood concept that is all too often watered down by agency regulatory interference...
Public Lands for the People is working on a Miner's Bill of Rights with the support of several members of Congress.
The main problem with the current scheme is that regulatory agencies often consult with you, then disregard your concerns and do what they want anyway.
Many miners have failed to exercise their rights by using the power of their Mining Districts and laws that are already on the books, such as 43 CFR 9712.1, which states…
The changes we are seeking will most definitely help prospectors, small operations and dredgers. If you haven’t yet read our proposals, you’ll find a link to it at the end of the online version of this article.
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