February 2021 by Scott Harn
I admit I was sitting on pins and needles, waiting to see if President Trump would sign the proposed Executive Order we presented with Public Lands for the People (PLP) prior to the expiration of his term in office.
Even the news organization Reuters believed that another Executive Order related to mining would be issued, stating on January 8:
“Administration officials tell Reuters they plan to publish a raft of decisions on January 15 that will expand miners’ access to federal lands... Biden will able to reverse some of Trump’s changes...but some of Trump’s steps will either be irreversible or require Biden to restart the rule-making process...”
While administrative approval was given to Resolution Copper’s large project in Arizona on January 15, no other major mining-related orders or decisions were issued.
When Democrats won the two outstanding Senate elections in Georgia, this created a 50-50 party split in the Senate which allows for Vice President Harris to provide the deciding vote should a tie vote occur. This throws into serious doubt whether Senator Barrasso (R-Wyoming) will be seated as the chair of the Senate Energy and Resources Committee.
Clark Pearson of PLP and I are hoping to get back to DC as soon as this pandemic allows so we can meet and strategize with our friends in DC. I assume the goal will be to return to our previous strategy of getting our much-needed regulatory reform inserted into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA has been one of the few bills that passes each year with huge bipartisan support.
The bottom line remains the same: The federal government must assert control from overzealous state regulators over regulations pertaining to federal mining claims in order to bring some regulatory certainty back to mining in America for both small and large operations. This is the only viable method to wrest control back from China, and to put suction dredges back in the water.
And we are not about to stop until we reach this goal.
During discussions with other property rights advocates and members of the current administration, Karen Budd-Falen’s name was mentioned many times as a possible director for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
The path to winning this case should have been to make the plaintiffs prove that a foreign substance was introduced and then discharged, which is the “trigger” for regulations under the Clean Water Act.
This will provide the opportunity to meet with many of the members of Congress in a more informal setting at several meetings, luncheons and dinners. And we have been offered the chance to meet with President Trump’s staff.
We have found strong support from legislators in both the House and Senate for several proposed bills that will provide Mining Districts with a greater role in the decisions that affect access to mining claims, oversight and regulations.
Priorities will include meeting with the EPA regarding suction gold dredging permitting and with the Forest Service regarding revisions to CFR 228A regulations related to mining and access on public lands.
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts - Where did the gold go? • Ask The Experts - True north or magnetic north? • Ask The Experts - How do I avoid claim jumping? • Ask The Experts - Are closed placer and lode claims worth my time? • Gold Geochemistry: Where Does Gold Come From? • Goal Setting and Rock Tossing • Principles of Designing Your Mill Production System, Part II: Mill Design • Gold Prospecting for Better or Worse: A Claim to Die For • Tips and Tricks: How to Make Your Own Gold Bars Without Burning the Place Down • Understanding Rock Formations: Petrology for Prospectors • Minnesota Lawmakers Move to Stop New Mines • Drywashing for Desert Gold—Part I • Seven Troy Ounces of Premonition? • I Was Looking for Gold But I Found Jade • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices