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CA Supreme Court to hear Rinehart case on Wednesday, June 1

May 31, 2016

On Wednesday, June 1, the California Supreme Court will finally hear oral arguments in People v. Rinehart.

This case involves suction gold dredging and whether or not federal mining law prevails when federal and state laws conflict.

Rinehart was cited for suction gold dredging without a permit on June 16, 2012 -- a permit the State of California refused to issue. Rinehart argued that the State could not prohibit the only economical method available to mine his claims and that the federal government was mandated to "foster and encourage" mining under the Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970 (30 US Code § 21a).

Rinehart was convicted but won his appeal in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The State of California appealed the case to the California Supreme Court.

Bohmker v. State of Oregon is a related case that might influence the California Supreme Court. In Bohmker, Judge Mark Clarke ruled the State of Oregon can prohibit the use of motorized equipment for instream mining in the name of environmental protection. As I mentioned in our May 2016 "Legislative and Regulatory Update" column:

"This decision follows a disturbing trend where judges defer to state and federal agencies regarding what constitutes 'reasonable' regulation. And it could very well have a negative impact on the People v. Rinehart case, which is currently under consideration by the California Supreme Court. That case involves federal preemption of state laws and will decide whether or not California can require permits for suction gold dredging—a mining method allowed under federal law—yet refuse to issue such permits."

The Bohmker decision is just one more reason why us miners need to get our Mining Districts organized if they are in disarray. Mining Districts are federally recognized entities that still have the power to make and enforce regulations. In conjunction with legislation that was requested by Congress, we can and will restore the rights of miners, including reopening access to closed areas and removing the obstructions to suction gold dredging.

Public Lands for the People and the Minerals and Mining Advisory Council have provided key members of Congress with the bills they requested and we will certainly let you know when those bills are moving.

In the meantime, if you have the time off and are within travelling distance, please make an appearance to support Rinehart.

Ronald Reagan State Building
300 South Sprint St, North Tower
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Wednesday, June 1
Oral arguments begin at 2:00pm -- be early if you want a seat

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