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Miner's News

PLP Year-End Summary

December 16, 2015

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Thank you to all our Supporters,
Below is our end of the year summary outlining events that have led to where PLP is currently positioned. For those of you who still have some Christmas shopping to do, at the end of this summary we have provided a link to items we have for sale on eBay to keep us in the fight for your Public Land Rights. 


Public Lands for the People (PLP) has accomplished a lot this year and we are looking forward to more gains for our rights in 2016. Let’s review the past year:
On January 12, 2015 Judge Ochoa ruled in PLP’s favor regarding Federal Preemption, overriding the State’s blanket prohibition on suction dredge mining. Here is what the court ruled:
On their motions for summary adjudication the Court finds there is no triable issue of
material fact on the issue of Federal Preemption and that as a matter of law and in
actual fact that the States extraordinary scheme of requiring permits and then refusing
to issue them whether and or being unable to issue permits for years stands as an
obstacle to the accomplishment of the full purposes and objectives of Congress under
Granite Rock and a de facto ban.

This was a major win; however, the Judge did not give us injunctive relief due to the pending California Supreme Court review of the Rinehart case. Judge Ochoa had previously relied heavily on the Rinehart case for guidance in his court. Meanwhile, the State has continued to cite miners in light of the Judge’s ruling.
PLP then teamed up with The New 49er's and WMA to file for a permanent injunction against the State. Judge Ochoa denied that injunction and we are appealing. We are headed back to court on January 20, 2016 for oral arguments on our other causes of action regarding the EIR process and the 2012 California dredging regulations. We would hope the court does the right thing and throws out those regulations and the whole EIR. This case is important because what happens in California tends to affect other states.
PLP’s Northern Director, Clark Pearson, has been working with the Federal Defenders office to defend John Godfrey, who was cited for, God forbid, running a sluice box in a stream. The New 49ers legal fund helped with an Amicus Brief at the district court level.  So far, we have gotten 3 of the 5 counts reversed and dismissed. PLP is currently in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals representing Mr. Godfrey to have the last two remaining counts reversed on due process grounds. This case will help all miners in the western United States on the key issues of State and Federal Clean Water Act exemptions and on the due process afforded a miner.
PLP is working with the Public Defender’s office in California’s Nevada County to defend a dredger who was cited for dredging without a permit. We are optimistic this case will be dismissed in 2016.
The most exciting news is that we have teamed up with the Minerals & Mining Advisory Council to get all Mining Districts up and operational. To that end, we have a whopper of a Federal mining bill ready to be delivered to the House floor. This bill, titled “Minerals and Mining Regulatory Reform Act - A Clear Path Respecting Mining Rights” can be read by going to www.mmacusa.org. We think you are really going to like this bill. Also, we encourage all miners to find their bylaws and organize their traditional Mining Districts. For assistance you can contact Scott Harn at the ICMJ at (831) 479-1500 or Clark Pearson with MMAC/PLP at (530) 273-0420.
PLP takes pride in knowing we are actually involved in court proceedings defending miners and actively involved in legislation that will keep us from having to defend our granted rights in court in the future.
Thank you for your continued support! We could not do what we do without the mining community on our side.
And remember, let’s take it back and KEEP IT!
Walt Wegner,


For the link to PLP eBay items, please click Here

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