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.
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.
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.
This is the third trip MMAC has made to DC this year, so some of the congressional staff members are gaining a better understanding of the current problems miners face and how MMAC-assisted Mining Districts can alleviate those problems.
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...
Minerals and Mining Advisory Council (MMAC) founder Joe Martori met with Jim Scrivner, the Bureau of Land Management Deputy State Director of Energy and Minerals in Sacramento, California...
PLP northern director Clark Pearson stated, “Thanks to the U.S. v. Hicks case, the courts have acknowledged that claimholders are owners of land within the National Forest who are exempt.”
A two-pronged approach is necessary to restore suction dredging; federal preemption needs to be established as addressed above via petition; and clarification from the EPA is needed to establish that no Section 402 permit is necessary when there is no “addition” of a pollutant.
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