December 2018 by Scott Harn
“In light of the results of the midterm elections our focus will be with the US Senators and their staffers that we have already been working with,” said Clark Pearson, northern director of Public Lands for the People (PLP).
Republicans lost control of the House, which means the committee chairs and members in the House of Representatives we were meeting with in our attempt to provide regulatory relief for small miners across the US will lose their influential positions. However, the Republicans gained two Senate seats—for a total of 53—and could possibly gain one more following a run-off election scheduled for November 27 in Mississippi.
In 2018, a section addressing critical and strategic minerals was added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The 2019 NDAA cycle will be our focus.
PLP is also working on a political strategy and a “white paper” that should provide significant influence with the legislatures in California, Oregon, Idaho and Washington in regards to suction gold dredging. However, rather than waiting for those legislatures to come to their senses in light of the evidence, the focus will remain on getting relief at the federal level.
Plans are in the works to head back to Washington, DC, for meetings with the US Forest Service, the EPA, and members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. We initially planned to head back in early December, but we are waiting to see what changes are made to several of the key committees. New members of Congress will be sworn in on January 3, 2019, and we hope to be there soon afterward. We have several Senators on the Armed Services Committee who have already expressed their support for our legislative proposals to provide relief for small-scale miners.
Again, I’m going to ask for your assistance. If you could please write a letter in support of the “Small Miner Amendments to the NDAA,” I will take these letters of support to DC with us and hand-deliver them as we talk to members of the Senate. (If you haven’t had a chance to read the Small Miner Amendments, you can find them with a quick search on our website.)
Please be sure to address your letter to your newly-elected Senators and not the ones who are currently in office if a new one is due to take that seat. The politicians want to know they have constituent support when they consider legislation, and your letters will be put to good use.
You can send them to me via email at email@example.com; by fax at (831) 479-4385; or by mail to:
ICMJ, PO Box 2260, Aptos, CA 95001.
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.
Minerals and Mining Advisory Council (MMAC) founder Joe Martori met with Jim Scrivner, the Bureau of Land Management Deputy State Director of Energy and Minerals in Sacramento, California...
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.
We have found strong support from legislators in both the House and Senate for several proposed bills that will provide Mining Districts with a greater role in the decisions that affect access to mining claims, oversight and regulations.
In the meantime, we will continue our multi-pronged approach to seek regulatory relief at the federal level while supporting those court cases that are built on a strong legal foundation.
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