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Legislation & Regulation

Uniting The Small Miners

Have you ever wondered what it is going to take to stop the insanity of politicians and environmental groups from taking away our rights? Well, it is pretty simple, really. First, we need to understand why the opposition to the small mining community, public land users, hunters, fishermen, off-roaders and other outdoor groups is so successful. In a few words, they are united and they have a level of communication we don’t. Have you wondered how to combat the lies these people tell about suction dredging? With information and facts. Not many of us can rattle off the suction dredge study performed by Claudia Wise and Joseph Greene, quote US v. Hicks, California Coastal Commision v. Granite Rock or the articles in ICMJ’s Prospecting and Mining Journal about using a water pump without a permit. But that will change.
We plan to change it. If we are to stop this, we must become united as we never have been before. We must be able to notify all of our community about what is happening, what their rights are, what they need to do to help and we must do it in a precise and expedient manner. We’ve all received the “call to action” emails where we have literally a day or two to write a Congressman, Department of Fish & Game, USFS or some other agency to voice opposition to a bill or regulation intent upon taking away more of our rights or public lands. We currently rely on forwarding emails sent to one, then another, then another with the hopes of reaching as many people as possible. This is ineffectual and needs to change. Our opposition is organized, and we must be just as well organized.
So, what do we do to change this? Let’s take California and start there. Delta Gold Diggers President Robert Guardiola and American Mining Rights Association (AMRA) are teaming up together to hold a meeting with every leader of every gold chapter, club, retail facility, manufacturer and association in California. This meeting will establish a list of contacts and the protocol to quickly and concisely distribute calls to action for the small mining community. This will not be used to promote any entity—it will be used exclusively for getting out the word on important and urgent matters. Urgent matters like bills that the political left seems so fond of trying to pass to ban mining, close large swaths of public land or other freedom opposing issues. The calls to action will be sent to the heads of each of these clubs, companies and associations, then forwarded to their members, followers and contacts. This should enable our industry to reach the most people in the shortest time.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) started small, got organized and now is the largest voice for the 2nd Amendment in America. We need to do the same thing, not just for California, but for every state. We are going to start with California, then move on to Washington where they are literally under attack from the environmental groups and the politicians in their pockets. Then Idaho, Oregon, Montana and so on.
We are compiling notebooks for every person in attendance to this meeting to distribute the science, studies, court cases and documentation that conclusively show suction dredging is not harmful to fish, but in fact helps it. It will also contain facts and laws on rights of access pertaining to public lands and federal mining claims. It is time—long past time—we all join together to  provide the mining community with all the tools at their disposal to combat the propaganda promulgated by our opposition. Wouldn’t it be nice to pull out a notebook which lists all the studies performed in the last 30 years on suction dredging to dispel the lies?
These publications will also be available to anyone and everyone online on the AMRA website and can be printed out for anyone interested. We must educate our people with the truth. They, in turn, can educate the next generation, which, unless we do something now, will not exist in small mining.
As I sit here today writing this, Judge Gilbert Ochoa has just ruled in favor of the small miners in California on the suction dredge moratorium. What a victory! We need to give credit where it is due, and that is to Public Lands for the People and the late Jerry Hobbs for his tireless and rigid defense of the small miners for over two decades. I know Jerry is smiling from that “loaded” placer in the sky right now. However, if you know anything about the direction of our country right now, you will also know our opposition is already scheming, planning and plotting the next method they will use to try to devastate the small miners and public land users. Guaranteed. 
If you are a president or board member of a gold club, a business owner who deals with small mining, a manufacturer or other entity that has members or a customer base that can help fight the stunning attack on small mining, contact us about attending this event. The date scheduled is March 14, 2015, in Sacramento, California. We will announce the location of the meeting once we can ascertain how many will be in attendance. Inquiries into this event can be made via email:
Another opportunity we are missing is to partner with other public land users such as the off-roaders, the fishermen, the hunters and the hikers. They need to understand that what these politicians and environmental groups are doing will affect them immensely. They should be our allies as most of these groups we deal with have the same fundamental values we do, including freedom, independence and liberty. There is a fundamental difference between a “right” and a “privilege.” Privilege is what the hunters, hikers and other public land use people have in regards to public lands. Mining claim owners have “rights.” Rights that are passed by Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States cannot be taken away, no matter how hard they try. Partnering with these other groups will allow us to explain what happens to them when these freedom-killing bills and regulations are passed. In other words, we must unite, all of us, to preserve what we love for future generations. Because if we don’t fight now, who will?
© ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal, CMJ Inc.
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