CA Dredge Case update: Sept. 2018

PLP Legal update September 2018

The board of directors wishes to sincerely thank Gold Prospectors Assoc. of America (GPAA)/ Lost Dutchman’s Mining Assoc. (LDMA), along with Keene Engineering for being some of the major financial contributors to the small mining communities’ lawsuits against the state of California that PLP filed on behalf of the miners in 2010. They say, “one cannot fight the government”, but we can. However, it takes a lot of time and money.

It has been over 8 long years since PLP filed suit against the State over the suction dredge ban. This filing would not have been possible without our major donors. The PLP and the mining community has spent a lot of time and money bringing these causes of action against the state.  We knew we had a good chance of knocking out the 2012 Environmental Impact Report (EIR), and the state’s prohibitive regulations.  We filed a Notice of Appeal on Judge Ochoa’s dismissal of our causes of action. Moving forward, the board had to evaluate our chances. The State has requested punishing our Plaintiffs for attorney costs and record cost to the tune of over three hundred thousand dollars (charging the miners: individuals who put their names and fortunes on the line).  Unfortunately, our major contributors (some named above) have not continued to support the miner’s cases against the State for over 2 years. We have had no financial commitments from other “mining rights groups” who had spoken of unity with PLP to help bear the costs but never committed to meaningful action month after month. We do appreciate those clubs, families and individuals who have faithfully stayed the course. These funds are being used where we feel we are making the biggest impact (see below).

Faced with a rather tough decision to go forward with insufficient funds, the board has made the decision to settle the lawsuits against the State and not pursue an appeal.  The lack of unity within the small mining community was a major factor in the boards decision.  Our membership wishes (by your letters of support) us to pursue a federal solution to the plight of California miners and the miners in other States, which can be solved best federally.  As an alternative to not going on appeal, we have considered and had given the opportunity for Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) and the Western Mining Alliance to take the CEQA case forward, and they have declined.  Now that we have hit you with a dose of sadness, here is where we are going from here and we are confident that we can solve the issues of the small-scale miner in California and throughout the United States. We recently aligned with a group of property and public land rights organizations regarding opening the Pebble Mine in Alaska (which would have the domino effect of opening other locked up public properties). Read the story here:

As many of you know PLP has been working publicly and behind the scenes within the Trump administration in Washington D.C. along with many members of Congress.  We are helping to educate members under Trump and likeminded members of Congress and their staffers of problems facing small miners in the U.S. and giving these members workable legal and educational solutions to help our industry. Our contacts and communications are fantastic considering we are now working within strategy think tanks with some of the best minds in the U.S. regarding property rights.  Much of the information that we have been allowed to release to our members and the public has been documented monthly in the ICMJ Mining Journal and have been released on an ongoing bases on Facebook.  To put it clearly – we have direct access to top level administrators in the Forest Service, Dept. of Interior, USGS, MSHA, and EPA.  The Trump picks are who we deal with period – the movers and the shakers.  We work directly with them because they want to help make mining great again.  We also work closely with many other property rights groups who share our core mission.

So, if you are having a problem locally and on federally managed public land, send us a letter and we will make sure it is delivered to high level people who care.  If your problem can be verified as unjust treatment, then someone down the federal or even state food chain will be transferred or worse.  There is a new Sherriff in town and his name is President Trump.   Do not underestimate how much he cares about our industry and your opinions, PLP knows, and wishes to help you be heard by him and his allies within the administrations.

Also, as you have probably already heard, PLP’s “Small Miner Amendment” is picking up support within the Minerals subcommittee in Congress thanks to your calls and letters of support – so keep them coming.  The National Mining Association (NMA) ran their minerals bill through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) just as we planned, and we had shown the way.  Making mining a matter of NATIONAL SECURITY for the first time in history under the NDAA!  Now it is our turn in line to push in part or in whole PLP’s “Small Miner Amendments”, solving 30 years of documented abuse of small miners mining rights.  So, come on aboard, the future is in fact bright with regulatory reform and nuggets in your pockets!


Don’t forget: PLP’s 2019 Grand Raffle is underway! A list of raffle prizes is in the September issue. Call 844.757.1990 to order your tickets today!


Taking it Back and Keeping it,

Your PLP Board of Directors

ATR, PLP and others Urge EPA to Rescind Obama Pebble Mine Veto

PLP joined Americans for Tax Reform and several other organizations in urging Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to rescind an Obama-era preemptive veto to halt a mining project in Southwest Alaska.


September 6, 2018

The Honorable Andrew Wheeler
Acting Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460

Dear Acting Administrator Wheeler,

In 2013, organizations from coast-to-coast called on then-U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to reject an unprecedented decision on Pebble Mine and warned that a preemptive veto, “would have a dramatic chilling effect on investment in America.” Unfortunately, this call went unheeded as the Obama EPA promulgated the “Proposed Determination.”This action was essentially a preemptive veto on the development of a copper mine in Southwest Alaska (AKA Pebble Mine) before the project had a chance to go through the permitting process. The proposed veto was based on incomplete, shoddy analysis and agency collusion with liberal environmental activists and other project opponents.

The conduct of the EPA over the last forty years confirms that the issuance of a proposed preemptive veto is unprecedented. EPA has only exercised its authority under Section 404(c) thirteen times. In each previous instance, EPA invoked Section 404(c) only after receipt of a permit application describing the scope and details of the project proposed, the anticipated environmental impact, and the techniques employed to mitigate, which is normal for all applicants under the well-established NEPA process.

One does not have to be a mining proponent to oppose the unprecedented action taken by the Obama EPA with their proposed preemptive veto of the Pebble Mine—before it even submitted a permit application. The harmful effects of continuing with EPA’s veto process go well beyond the mining industry. The need to secure 404 permits touches every state and all areas of our economy.

In late June, former Administrator Pruitt correctly recognized the dangerous precedent set by the Obama EPA and issued a memorandum instructing the agency to update the regulations governing EPA’s role in permitting and its veto authority under section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). In the news release on June 27, 2018, former Administrator Pruitt instructed the EPA to ensure the agency is “protecting public health and the environment in a way that is fair and consistent with due process. We must ensure that EPA exercises its authority under the Clean Water Act in a careful, predictable, and prudent manner.”

We applaud this action and encourage you to not back down to those who have asked you to withdraw the memo and the directive for the EPA to update the 404c regulations and guidelines. Further, with the proposed regulatory reform, the EPA has an opportunity to establish a lasting precedent for the federal permitting process that protects “human health and the environment while improving predictability and regulatory certainty,” per the EPA’s news release. The Agency can make sure that this message is received clearly by communicating that these rules will apply to all current and proposed projects, not just future permit applications.

Unfortunately, the Obama Administration’s proposed preemptive veto is still in place. While the developers of the Pebble Mine have been allowed to submit the permit application, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is still precluded from issuing any permits. So long as the preemptive veto on Pebble Mine remains in place, there remains a dangerous precedent for future administrations to undermine a fair, traditional, and rational permitting process.

We firmly believe that the continuing existence of the proposed preemptive veto on Pebble Mine undermines the Pruitt Memo and the necessary regulatory reform it seeks to establish.

You have the ability to right the wrongs of the Obama EPA and remove the precedent of a preemptive 404(c) veto entirely. We urge you to rescind the proposed “veto” (proposed determination) for Southwest Alaska as soon as possible. This action would be an important step to reestablishing a fair and due process at the EPA, which Pruitt called for in his memo.

We applaud the President’s proposal to eliminate the EPA’s statutory authority to issue a veto, which is part of his infrastructure plan. Implementing regulations based on Pruitt’s memo and taking the steps outlined in this letter is consistent with Trump’s intentions and would make it even more difficult for future administrators to use the 404c provision as a tool for ‘federal zoning.’

We appreciate your leadership and look forward to continued EPA action to reduce the burdensome regulations implemented by the Obama EPA.

Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform

Dick Patten
American Business Defense Council

Rick Manning
Americans for Limited Government

Brent Gardner
Chief Government Affairs Officer
Americans for Prosperity

Jennifer Fielder
American Lands Council

Myron Ebell
Director, Center for Energy & the Environment
Competitive Enterprise Institute

James Edwards
Executive Director
Conservatives for Property Rights

Ron Kliewer
Public Lands for the People

Derrick Hollie
Reaching America

Jim Martin
60 Plus Association

Amy Oliver Cooke
Executive Vice President
Director, Energy and Environmental Policy
Independence Institute (Colorado)

Sal J. Nuzzo
Vice President of Policy
The James Madison Institute (Florida)

Paul Gessing
Rio Grande Foundation (New Mexico)

John M. Tidwell
Oklahoma State Director
Americans For Prosperity Oklahoma Chapter

Brett Healy
John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy (Wisconsin)