PLP and Mining Districts
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Mining Districts: A Concept Reborn
October 2011 by Jim
In the last ten years mining has come under increasing attack from extreme environmental, as well as tribal special interest groups and last, but not least, federal and state agencies. 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. While many of these miners hold regular jobs and practice their mining as a supplement to their regular income, and some for purely recreational purposes, there are a large percentage of them who depend on mining as their sole income.
SWOMA began to put out feelers in the mining community to see if there was interest in forming a mining district. Fortunately there was a great deal of interest.
After widespread notice, on September 2, 2011 at their second fact-finding meeting, it was decided by those present to form a mining district. A vote was taken of those present, which was about 70 miners in attendance, coming from as far away as Indiana. The vote was unanimous in favor of forming the district.
As required by custom and law, the name of the new mining district needed to be determined. It was decided by vote to name the new district the Jefferson Mining District. The boundaries of the District will approximate the “abandoned” State of Jefferson boundaries, to include most of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Ida Reimann was named and voted the first Recorder for the Jefferson Mining District. Kerby Jackson was named and voted interim chairman pending formal structuring of District organization. Rules promulgation was tabled until organization Establishment. The initial purpose of the Jefferson Mining District will be to produce a federally authorized Coordination Plan, which miners throughout the district may use to assert and enforce the mining law.
A mining district is a lawful governmental entity that stands on equal footing with any other governmental entity as far as demanding that federal agencies coordinate with the mining district.
Local governments that have implemented “coordination” status with federal management agencies are successfully fighting erosion of private property rights in their communities. The “coordination” status is authorized by almost every federal statute relating to management of land, resource, and environment. All the local government has to do is formally accept the congressional invitation to “coordinate,” and federal agencies have no choice but to agree.
What is this “coordination” factor, which elevates the involvement of local government in federal planning and management actions? The foundation for the concept is found in the Federal Land Policy Management Act, commonly known as FLPMA. Section 1712 of Title 43 of the United States Code requires that the Bureau of Land Management must coordinate its “land use inventory, planning, and management actions” with any local government that has engaged in land use planning for the federal lands managed by the federal agencies. This is where the Coordination Plan comes in. The Plan will enforce standard of the law for such things as ingress and egress.
No local government is better suited to write a Coordination Plan for miners than the actual miners who are affected by federal agency actions.
In this respect and for this purpose, the Jefferson Mining District was formed. The purpose of this new mining district is for the protection and advocation of miners and their rights and property under the mining law. Authoring, and then teaching miners how to enforce the district-wide Coordination Plan will be its initiating purpose. All that will remain in this regard is for miners within the District to step up, taking responsibility for protecting themselves, their property and their rights.
By the authority of the mining district, agencies must coordinate their plans with the mining district plan. Finally miners have a voice that cannot be ignored by agencies that have, up until this time, listened politely to miners concerns and then just as politely ignored both miners and the mining law. Increased mining district mobilization will bring more power to the miners, which will have a positive economic ripple effect into the larger community.
More information can be found on the Internet at: www.miningrights.org
They can also be contacted regarding membership in the Jefferson Mining District at: www.miningrights.org/contact.html
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