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We realize that if our proposals are implemented by the Trump administration they could be soon withdrawn by the same executive order process by the next administration, but they would still provide temporary relief and clearly define which party miners should be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.
Face-to-face meetings in Washington, DC, with Trump administration officials and members of Congress are still on hold due to the coronavirus, but Public Lands for the People is continuing to work on mining-related issues via phone and email.
On July 4, we are reminded of the sacrifices our Founding Fathers made to establish this great country of ours, and in that spirit, the Minerals and Mining Advisory Council (MMAC) has created a draft Declaration of Miners.And MMAC has been hard at work writing a bill, with the unwavering support of several members of Congress, to reaffirm the rights of miners operating in traditional mining districts.
We’ve heard from miners in Arizona about federal agencies closing off historic roads that provide access for miners, and we need your input.
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...
We are in the planning stages for our next trip to DC. Clark and I are looking at returning after the mid-term elections, probably around the end of November or early December, to continue discussions with members of Congress…
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…
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