November 2019 by Scott Harn
Public Lands for the People (PLP) is challenging the California Department of Fish & Wildlife after the agency attempted to expand their authority to regulate a lawful activity.
PLP is providing expert help on behalf of a member who was cited for not having a stream alteration permit for drywashing in an area nearly above the timberline where the only water that runs through there is during a rainstorm or during the snow melt.
The miner was drywashing using a small, gas-powered drywasher for a short period of time—maybe an hour—when he was asked by a ranger to see his permit, which is not required to prospect at this small of a scale. PLP has provided several relevant decisions to the court that relate to this case and is offering expert testimony on the member’s behalf.
We will keep you posted as this case progresses.
Clark Pearson (PLP northern director) and I have maintained contact with officials in Washington, DC regarding the recent petition for rulemaking related to suction gold dredging. As explained in the petition, the Clean Water Act clearly states there must be the addition of a pollutant to trigger the need for a Section 402 permit and there is no such addition involved when using a dredge. We will continue to seek action on the petition and will schedule a return trip to DC in early 2020 to follow-up on this issue, and we’ll also seek a meeting with Tim Charters, the new executive director of the Western Caucus.
“Our member followed the PLP dredge card to the ‘T’. PLP called his senior officer about the incident and the call was never returned, nor was the dredger cited.”
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.”
In May 2017, the district participated in a meeting with representatives from several state and federal agencies where they educated agency officials about the authority of Mining Districts, Mining Law and miner’s rights.
The ESA has become an unwieldy beast that was hijacked by government agencies run amok, and by extreme environmental groups who saw it as a way to lock up public lands and to generate income through exaggerated claims and continuous lawsuits.
Public Lands for the People is working on a Miner's Bill of Rights with the support of several members of Congress.
Present conflicts and realizations having to do with dependence on China have illuminated the fact that suction dredge miners have a vital role to play and are an ignored and untapped domestic resource—until now.
Toward the end of this summer, we expect another Federal Register notice will be published that deals with Forest Service mining regulations.
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts - Seeking advice on setting up an operation and the agreement with the landowner • Montana Gold and Sapphires Revisited • A Third Generation Small-Scale Hardrock Revival • Gold Prospecting for Better or Worse: Respect the Angle of Repose • The Summer of ‘81 • The “Chuck It Out” Nugget • High Sulfidation Epithermal Deposits • Gold and Silver Deposits of Bodie, California • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices