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.
I admit I was sitting on pins and needles, waiting to see if President Trump would sign the proposed Executive Order we presented with Public Lands for the People (PLP) prior to the expiration of his term in office.
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.
You have made your presence known with the BLM or Forest Service, placed Mining District signs along the entrance points to your district, and found support with other local miners. But how do you gain popular support?
During discussions with other property rights advocates and members of the current administration, Karen Budd-Falen’s name was mentioned many times as a possible director for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
We had discovered during previous trips that some of the staff members had difficulty comprehending the specific issues related to mining, so prior to heading back to DC, we laid out the reasons for our proposed legislation...
PLP northern director Clark Pearson stated, “Thanks to the U.S. v. Hicks case, the courts have acknowledged that claimholders are owners of land within the National Forest who are exempt.”
The legislators soon came to the realization that Mining Districts and our proposed bill can solve many of the problems they currently face in their home states.
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