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.
Within these districts, some of the roads and trails have been reopened for access, critical habitat designations have been scaled back, and a few Mining Districts were completely removed from proposed withdrawals.
Toward the end of this summer, we expect another Federal Register notice will be published that deals with Forest Service mining regulations.
One caller wondered why he should be required to join MMAC, asked why MMAC was not a non-profit, and compared it to some kind of extortion attempt. If he had questions like these, I assume there are others with similar questions and I will address them here.
PLP cannot understate the importance of this legal decision in our present battles with the political powers of the California swamp.
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...
The Senator’s office was very receptive to the small miner’s plight and was unaware of the dire problems created by the over-regulation of small-scale mining from so many different fronts. It was pointed out that S 145 may help the large mining companies a little, but falls woefully short in addressing the needs of small operators who make up 85% of domestic mines.
PLP is also concluding its funding and review of a scientific study which names the suction dredge as the preeminent tool for reclaiming American waterways to counter atmospheric mercury impacts coming from China.
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