January 2021 by Scott Harn
Public Lands for the People (PLP) continued to participate in phone/video conferences with our friends in Washington, DC, while the pandemic continues to restrict the ability to conduct in-person meetings. The main point of discussion is how to provide immediate relief for miners if a new administration takes over on January 20, 2020.
Potential executive orders have been presented to President Trump’s advisors that would—at least temporarily—fix many of regulatory issues miners currently face. These options include removing the Forest Service for minerals management, providing unobstructed access to miners, removing authority over dredging from individual states, and much more. (Most of the items were listed in the proposed legislation we delivered to Congress in 2019 titled, “Critical Minerals: National Security Amendments to the NDAA,” which is available online.)
We realize that if our proposals are implemented by the Trump administration they could be soon withdrawn by the same executive order process by the next administration, but they would still provide temporary relief and clearly define which party miners should be supporting.
PLP is also looking toward meeting with the incoming chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and it appears it will be Senator Barrasso (R-Wyoming). Senator Barrasso’s staff has been open to discussing these needed regulatory changes during our past meetings and we plan to return to DC for in-person meetings as soon as the pandemic allows.
We had multiple dates scheduled for trips to DC in 2020 to meet with members of the Senate, House, and federal regulatory agencies, but they were all postponed as the pandemic persisted. We look forward to restarting these trips as soon as they are feasible and we’ll continue to keep you posted.
PLP cannot understate the importance of this legal decision in our present battles with the political powers of the California swamp.
The process of updating the Rand Mining District is underway and you’ll see a Public Notice in this issue requesting interested parties to submit an application to serve on the board.
We have an opportunity to make significant and substantial changes to provide relief for small miners with the Trump Administration and the current makeup of Congress. We realize the time to act is now, but we need your help.
Pearson called the trip, “The most productive so far. We are courting over a dozen potential sponsors now. We had some members call us back for additional meetings and several of these lasted over an hour.”
We will be bringing the first of several bills that were requested by Congress during a previous MMAC trip and presenting maps depicting all the MMAC-assisted Mining Districts.
…a half-dozen dredgers have completed the appropriate paperwork and are conducting dredging operations at this juncture. They hope to expand these efforts to other western states in the near future.
We spent our evening at some informal get-togethers at two private residences in the DC area, which provided the opportunity to talk with staff members from Congress, other agencies, and a few consultants working on public land issues. We found common ground with many of them, and found a strong ally in a former Congressman turned consultant who agreed that Mining Districts provide the smartest legal route...
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