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.
After many decades of closures, land-use restrictions, and over-regulation, miners and all other public land users may finally see some real relief due to the efforts of MMAC.
We’ve built up some contacts in DC during our trips there over the past four years, and we believe we finally have the correct contacts who can get this petition reviewed by the proper people.
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…
Keep in mind there are specific steps that must be taken to get your traditional mining district organized if it has fallen into disarray.
…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.
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.
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.
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