Surrendering to the Pollution Permit
There has been a lot of buzz going around lately that “They might let us dredge in 2019” in California. That would truly be awesome after all these years! The small scale mining industry will be back in full swing. Manufacturers would once again start cranking out dredges and other related equipment; good times to be enjoyed by one and all. That has been, and continues to be the goal of Public Lands for the People.
We must at this point perform our due diligence.
American Mining Rights Association has proposed that miners submit themselves to a water quality permit (permission) from the California Water Board, with the admission by the applicant that suction dredging for gold is adding a pollutant (although it be deminimus). That means the miner admits he is adding to the waterway, but “please, let us dredge.” This one act alone not only is dishonest due to the fact that dredges remove material from the waterway (net withdrawal), this gives up one’s Mining Rights by contract to the government of California. Federal Mining rights can only be protected FEDERALLY – not at the state level. State law only fills the gaps where federal law does not speak or specifically occupy on federal lands.
The PLP Board agrees with the concerns the Mining Journal has regarding SB1222: https://www.icmj.com/magazine/article/california-to-allow-suction-dredging-in-2019-3828/
PLP views supporting SB1222 as an unnecessary compromise of the Public’s Mining Rights in order for some to get back in the water under a state permit system. Preserving federally granted mining rights has been a core value of PLP since its inception and is a responsibility the board will not waiver from. SB1222 as written demonizes the suction nozzle that many smart miners have been using via gravity systems. We cannot in good conscious support submitting to a state agency that will require we relinquish our Federal Mining Rights to a privilege based permit “permission” system that states dredges pollute, and that the privilege can be taken away at any time via an agency, committee or legislature of the state.
The same Government that AMRA has correctly accused of tyranny, and the same government that continues to defy federal law on many other issues not directly related to mining which affects our whole country and the future of our Republic. This fight against the tyranny of the Government of California has always been that the state can only regulate reasonably. They are not authorized to prohibit! Mining law is authorized through Federal law, which supersedes state law when in conflict. By submitting to the CA Water Board or CDFW for a permit will not guarantee that they cannot deny that permit (permission), at any time in the future, even after permission was given! Is that not what happened to us in 2009? Do you trust the Government or the Legislature of California to be fair?
We have faith that for the first time in a long time we have an Administration in Washington that values the Constitution and the rule of law! That same Administration has recently filed suit against the State of California over FEDERAL PREEMPTION. We believe we are on the verge of seeing great things happen in our country. And boy, it is about time!
This is one analogy:
Soldiers in our Revolutionary War were cold, hungry and tired. They longed for the warmth, safety and freedom they dreamt of and fought so hard for. A number of the men figure that if they could just cut a deal with the British, they could go home to their families, hold their wives and children, and trust that they would be safe and free of tyranny for awhile. That the British would honor the compromise. This sounded very appealing and many soldiers considered compromising.
Fortunately for America, the men of those days would not compromise at all when it came to rights and freedom. Many would be willing to die, and die they did to ensure the Rights and Freedom for future generations, even if it meant extreme pain and discomfort in the present. We consider that Courageous and of Noble Character. Fortunately for us, at this point in time we do not have to face death to stand strong.
Preserving federally granted mining rights has been a core value of PLP since its inception, and is a responsibility the board will not waiver from. That is why PLP was founded and we continue in this vein. We understand this point of view may not be popular with some in the mining community, and we KNOW it is unpopular with the ones who want to diminish or take our rights away altogether! We will continue to:
TAKE IT BACK AND KEEP IT!
PLP’s Summery position regarding SB1222:
Federal Mining rights can only be protected FEDERALLY – not at the state level. State law only fills the gaps where federal law does not speak or specifically occupy on federal lands. If the prospector trusts the State of California to regulate and permit the suction dredger, then supporting SB1222 could be his/her choice. If the prospector does not trust the State of California, then the miner could support the FEDERAL “Small Miner Amendment to S. 145” and join PLP to protect your Federal Mining Rights.
Your Board of Directors,
Public Lands for the People
P.S. Read PLP’s Legal Accomplishments here: