You can't mine if you can't access public lands PDF Print E-mail
Written by ScottC   
Thursday, 26 February 2009

ImageThe U.S. Forest Service is in the process of closing many roads on public lands in (2009). That means if you can't access your claim on public lands you can't mine for gold, or fish or hunt, unless you walk there.

 

People for Public Lands needs your help NOW, Feb 2009!

 

Read more, I clipped a post from the PLP website, please read this article by clicking on the title.

 

I have personally donated $100 today, I know it's not much, but it's all I can afford right now, and plan to donate more in the coming months.


Urgent Request for Donations

Dear Equipment Dealers, Customers, Fellow Prospectors, Miners, Prospecting and Mining Clubs, and Organizations:

While we realize that our Nation is facing difficult economic times and each of us has to tighten our belts, Public Lands for the People Inc. (PLP) and all of their supporters are asking all of you out there to read this letter and consider things carefully. Your donations, no matter how big or small, do not just affect our immediate future and dredging plans, but the future for our children and their rights to mine and dredge in California and around the country.


Please read on and learn why your contributed dollars matter.


There are 3 new lawsuits and a Congressional Bill (HR 699) that are being directed at small-scale miners, claim owners and especially suction dredge miners. Along with these lawsuits, the Bill, and the new Mining Law Reform Act, PLP is still in two ongoing lawsuits to protect your rights. Whether it is your mining business, or mining itself, everyone will be affected.

 

The two lawsuits that PLP is currently involved in are as follows:

 

The Karuk Tribe vs. California Department of Fish and Game (DFG)
The decision in this lawsuit was for the DFG to complete an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) before making new regulations on suction dredging. The DFG has failed to comply with the Court Ordered EIR and the Karuk Tribe has informed us that they intend to come back into the court and file a new complaint against the DFG for contempt of the Court Order. The PLP and the New-49ers have prevailed in this lawsuit, preventing past closures of the rivers and must remain diligent in this case to assure that the DFG represents the miners’ best interest.

 

Siskiyou Regional Education Project (SREP) vs. United States Forest Service (USFS)
SREP sued the USFS to require a Plan of Operation for all suction dredge mining. PLP, Waldo Mining, and Bob and Lisa Barton prevailed in the District Court and SREP appealed to the 9th Circuit Court. PLP, Waldo and the Barton’s are still in the lawsuit, have made arguments to the 9th Circuit Court, and are awaiting a decision.

 

Most of you know the USFS is closing thousands of miles of roads in all of the Western forests. Eldorado National Forest was the first to complete their Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and their Record of Decision (ROD). PLP has been working on this complaint to sue Eldorado National Forest to prevent their road closures and help set precedent against closing roads in other forests. This lawsuit is ready to be filed but funds are desperately needed. It will not help to win the dredging cases if the roads are closed and prospectors cannot access their claims.

 

Leif Hillman of the Karuk Tribe and his cronies on February 5, 2009, filed another lawsuit against the California DFG for violations of State laws, asking for an injunction against the DFG to stop issuing suction dredge permits in the state of California. Someone must intervene in this case to stop the DFG from eliminating the rights of the suction dredge community. If PLP can receive adequate funding, we can intervene in the lawsuit and stop the DFG from a settlement, which would devastate the miners in California and could lead to other states imposing similar regulations in other western states.

The Karuk Tribe, Hillman, Sierra Fund, Cal Trout and the Friends of the North Fork have threatened at least 3 more lawsuits in the near future. PLP and any others who attempt to intervene to protect the miners’ rights will need funding. The bottom line is that our attorneys cannot take on a battle of this magnitude unless we can get more money in the legal fund.

 

Environmental and fishing organizations also filed suit against the California State Water Board over what they allege is a failure to put enforceable water quality standards in place to protect northwestern coastal rivers and aquatic life. It appears the Water Board is citing mining and dredging as key threats in these at risk areas. These organizations filing suit in San Francisco Superior Court include the Sierra Club, the Environmental Protection Information Center, and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, against the State Water Resources Control Board and the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. They have violated State Law by allowing delays in enforcing water quality standards. These special interest groups are using any excuse to create new regulations without any consideration for the dredging community. As a matter of fact, during extensive operational testing, Keene suction gold dredges removed over 98% of stream contaminants and pollutants.

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was sued in the 1990’s for not protecting North Coast streams, and ended up agreeing to set pollution limits, called Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, or just plain turbidity. The State is required under California law to craft plans to implement those measures. Of some 33 TMDLs, the North Coast board has only completed four. The state of Oregon miners are in a lawsuit over this very issue with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

 

This lawsuit needs the attention of all California miners and organizations such as PLP. PLP would like to do all it can to lend its support in this lawsuit and any other litigation that might be instrumental in preventing the California Water Quality Control Board from restricting not only the rights of the suction dredgers, but also the rights of all small-scale miners that utilize water.

 

Washington miners are in a position to enter into a lawsuit to protect their ability to suction dredge rivers in the prime months. The State of Washington is restricting their dredge season to winter months when Mother Nature is uncooperative. PLP, along with others, have been working with the Washington Resources Coalition for several years to assist them in their battle.

 

PLP also believes that the best avenue of attack is to go into Federal Court filing suit against the State of California to enjoin (stop) the state from prohibiting any mining at all. This is especially so for suction dredge mining on a mining claim under the protection of the 1866 and 1872 Federal Mining Law. This law states the claim owner also owns the minerals on that claim. To prohibit the miner from taking his minerals is also a violation of property rights under the 5th Amendment of the Constitution, taking without compensation, and violation of the right of due process under the 14th amendment of the Constitution.

 

Another thorn in the side of the mining community is this year’s version of HR 699, the revised proposed mining law repeal that passed the House of Representatives last year. It is back and worse than ever. If HR 699 is passed through the Senate and signed into Law, it will remove the RIGHT to mine and make it a privilege. You can review this bill in the PLP Forum at www.plp2.org. Please take the time to look at it.

This letter is a plea to all miners, prospectors, equipment dealers, prospecting and mining clubs and organization to jump on board with your support in these and other up and coming battles and lawsuits at the most crucial time in history. If you are not supporting PLP or some other organization that is in this fight then you will surely end up with the loss of your right to prospect and mine and lose your property rights.

 

PLP has been around for 19 years and has been involved in all kinds of cases that have been won by the mining community. To name a few—U.S. vs. Lex; U.S. vs. McClure; U.S. vs. Eno; US vs. Pearson; SREP vs. U.S.F.S.; the recent U.S vs. Hicks case and many others. PLP and the mining community can continue to win these pending cases as well, but only with your help.

 

Some of our main supporters include Keene Engineering, Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA) and several of their chapters, ICMJ’s Prospecting and Mining Journal, Proline Dredges, Whites Electronics, Pioneer-Motherlode Mining Supply, Bill Mesa of Western Mining, Valley Prospectors, Orange County 49ers, West End Prospectors and many others too numerous to name but no less important.
Folks, it is still not enough if we want to continue to protect our rights to prospect and mine. Please take a minute out of your life and a dollar out of your pocket, and encourage others to do the same. We can’t win if we don’t fight back.

 

Donations can be made by going to the PLP website, www.plp2.org. There is opportunity to donate with a credit card and PayPal on the bottom left of the front page. You can also send contributions or just fill out the membership application and send it to:

 

Direct link to this and more on the PLP website http://www.plp2.org/forum/showthread.php?t=444

 

PLP
c/o Barry Wetherby
3700 Santa Carlotta St.,
La Crescenta, Ca. 91214-1048
Or call with any questions: Jerry Hobbs (909) 889-3039.
Thank You All for Your Support.
Jerry Hobbs and PLP Board

Last Updated ( Friday, 27 February 2009 )
 
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