October 2018 by Scott Harn
Public Lands for the People joined fourteen other public interest groups in supporting Alaska’s proposed Pebble Mine and sent a letter to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, requesting he fix a dangerous precedent set by the Obama administration.
Under former President Obama, the EPA issued a preemptive veto of the Pebble Mine before a permit application was even made by the companies exploring the project’s potential. Under the former president’s policy, the US Army Corps of Engineers is precluded from issuing any permits.
The letter asks Acting Administrator Wheeler to revoke the preemptive veto issued under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to remove this dangerous precedent.
The online version of this article contains a link to the actual letter.
Plans are underway to return to Washington, DC, in late November or early December to continue seeking regulatory relief for small-scale miners. Priorities will include meeting with the EPA regarding suction gold dredging permitting and with the Forest Service regarding revisions to CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 228A regulations related to mining and access on public lands. Additional meetings will be scheduled with those members of Congress who have already expressed an interest in sponsoring or cosponsoring PLP’s proposed “Small Miner Amendments.”
In September, PLP announced they intend to settle the lawsuits against the State of California regarding suction gold dredging rather than continue the current appeal. PLP stated they continue to receive contributions from individuals and small prospecting clubs, but some of the major contributors dropped their monetary support. While the PLP board believes they have a “good chance of knocking out the 2012 Environmental Impact Report and the state’s prohibitive regulations,” incoming contributions have been insufficient to cover the costs. The group has established relationships with top-level members of the Trump Administration and many influential members of Congress; they will continue to focus on making the necessary regulatory changes at the federal level to address issues related to suction gold dredging, lack of access or restricted access, and more.
We now have supporters who are well known and connected in Washington, DC, and who state they will assist us in bypassing lower level staffers and getting us face-to-face meetings with Senators.
…what I’d like to focus on in this update is the assistance they provided to a suction gold dredger in Idaho being harassed by an environmental group.
The process of updating the Rand Mining District is underway and you’ll see a Public Notice in this issue requesting interested parties to submit an application to serve on the board.
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.
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.)
If you need more proof that having an organized Mining District can help you, look no further than the recently proposed Methow Headwaters Withdrawal in north-central Washington State.
I want to stress that this is just the first step to fixing many of the regulatory issues we identified in discussions with the current administration. There will be plenty more to come.
The Bawl Mill • Legislative and Regulatory Update • Ask The Experts - A few questions about 'peak gold' • Ask The Experts - Seeking advice on processing pocket gold • Ask The Experts - How do I recover gold in pyrite? • Ask The Experts - Can a British citizen purchase a mining claim? • Ask The Experts - Is California dredging going to return in 2019? • Ask The Experts - Were you aware of the new recording fee in California? • The Unusual Forest Nugget Patch • California Sniping • Large Gold Deposit Types • A Father’s Day to Remember: 24,000 Ounces Gold in Quartz • How to Beat the Heat--and The Bedrock • Gold Prospecting: For Better or Worse--It Was A Dark and Overcast Night • Using Geologic Publications to Discover Collecting Sites • Prospector Unearths Huge 'Duck’s Foot' Nugget • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices