September 2021 by Scott Harn
Public Lands for the People continues to educate their members on how to conduct reclamation dredging, which is the only way to avoid a citation for dredging in California under the current regulatory scheme at the present time. PLP reports that 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.
A recall election will take place in California on September 14. Polls suggest that CA Governor Newsom might be recalled and replaced, with Republican Larry Elder leading as the potential replacement. If a Republican is elected, members the California State Water Resources Board—the agency that has put up roadblocks to suction gold dredge permits—can be replaced with appointees who would likely be more accommodating to suction gold dredgers.
PLP is also planning FallFest for October 2021, and the event will be back at a private mining claim in the Stringer District in Kern County in Southern California. More information is available on page 4 or on their website: www.publiclandsforthepeople.com
There are no trips to Washington, DC, currently scheduled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, though PLP and ICMJ continue to meet with our compatriots there via video conference calls on a monthly basis to strategize. The main goal is to stop the current administration’s efforts to place additional public lands off-limits or put additional restrictions on existing public lands through the use of endangered or threatened species listings.
We’ve also had discussions about possible steps that could be taken to force the current administration to actively manage forests to help prevent the massive fires we’ve had this summer across the Western States. While these burned areas might allow for easier access to potential mining/prospecting areas, the loss of lives, homes, cabins, lumber, and wildlife are devastating. And the US Forest Service has closed access to some of our National Forests due to the fire danger, blocking access to the public and mining claim holders.
At the state level, there’s a possibility that California Governor Newsom could be removed and replaced during his upcoming recall election, which will be held in September.
Most of the mining opposition today is centered around the small-scale miner. These miners number in the thousands and come from every walk of life.
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.
We’ve heard from miners in Arizona about federal agencies closing off historic roads that provide access for miners, and we need your input.
PLP cannot understate the importance of this legal decision in our present battles with the political powers of the California swamp.
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 has developed a plan to get dredgers back in the water by embracing the fact that suction gold dredgers can provide a valuable service by reclaiming waterways.
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