PLP Board of Directors election March 2

Dear Members of Public Lands for the People,

Thank you for being a supporting member of PLP. We can’t be successful in the fight to keep our public lands open to multiple use without your help. We have had many successes over the years, including the HUGE Federal Preemption win in San Bernardino last year in the combined dredging cases. When many folks band together to do something, a lot gets accomplished! Part of our mission is reaching out to those within the mining community and to other outdoor user groups. We can use your help on the Board, on special projects like research or at fundraising events and getting the word out. We can’t do it without YOU!

As you know, PLP is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation. All donations are tax deductible according to the IRS. As a non-profit organization, we have certain rules and regulations that we must follow to maintain our tax-exempt status. One of those things is maintaining the corporate structure, including a volunteer Board of Directors. No one on the Board gets paid for their service to PLP. The Board of Directors guides the direction of PLP, and is charged with the responsibility of carefully dispersing funds in the fight to keep our rights. The funds are most often used for legal expenses and costs incurred for fundraising, and getting our message out to other user groups, the media, etc.

The Board of Directors will be having their next election of approximately half the Board of Directors next Wednesday, March 2, 6 pm at:

3120 El Sebo Avenue, Hacienda Heights CA 91745

Please show up and vote, it’s your right as a PLP Member in good standing. Hope to see you there!

Thank you,

Ron Kliewer

On behalf of your Board of Directors,

Public Lands for the People

JUDGE OCHOA CEQA RULING 1-20-2016

Judge Ochoa Stays CEQA Ruling in Remarkable Court Proceeding

In San Bernardino Superior Court, Judge Gilbert Ochoa candidly admitted that the mining community is being denied justice in his own courtroom by deferring a decision on the CEQA case. In what amounts to a judicial ole’, Judge Ochoa is kicking the can down the road until the California Supreme Court rules on the Brandon Rinehart case.

From Attorney James Buchal:

This morning was the scheduled time for Judge Ochoa to hear and rule upon CEQA and Administrative Procedure Act challenges to the Department’s FSEIR on suction dredging, as well as the time set for a hearing on a motion for summary judgment (and the Department’s counter-motion for judgment on the pleadings) concerning the question whether AB 120 and SB 1018 were unconstitutional for violation of the “one subject” rule in the California Constitution.

The hearing was delayed because the Judge was in the process of preparing his tentative ruling (poor quality camera copy attached—I’m still at the airport): he would not decide anything; everything would be stayed pending a ruling in People v. Rinehart. I was given the opportunity to contest the tentative ruling, and pointed out to the Judge that while there was some limited overlap between the federal preemption issues and the CEQA arguments, the “one subject” case had nothing to do with People v. Rinehart.

I explained that we were in the process of getting water quality permits or waivers, but even if we got them, the unconstitutional provisions of AB 120 and SB 1018 would still require certifications about birds, noise, wildlife and historical/cultural issues, such that we could not get suction dredging permits even to run under the restrictive 2012 regulations. Striking down AB 120 and SB 1018 would remove all legal obstacles (other than water quality certifications) to the Department’s issuance of permits under the 2012 regulations without regard to any federal preemption issues. I was interrupted in mid-argument as I then strayed into the merits of the CEQA baseline argument (which also has nothing to do with federal preemption).

At the end of the hearing, after hearing from the Department, which reversed its earlier position that we needed to decide these issues, I said that of course the Department and Tribe were happy for delay, that justice delayed is justice denied, and this was unfair. The Judge remarked that he agreed with my last observation, it was unfair, but there was nothing he could do about it.

Whether or not a federal court will recognize the extraordinary nature of our treatment in the California courts as, in substance, a concerted effort to frustrate federal civil mining rights, remains to be seen. This morning’s developments are certainly more evidence in support of that position.

James L. Buchal

Murphy & Buchal LLP

 

Read Judger Ochoa’s Ruling HERE

 

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We are mindful of this definition as the Board perfects the next course of action to prevail against our adversaries.

PLP Editor 

PLP COURT DATE: JANUARY 20th at 8:30 a.m.

Public Lands for the People will be back in court Wednesday, January 20th at 8:30 a.m. to present oral arguments for the last 2 causes of action in front of Judge Gilbert Ochoa. Commonly referred to as the “CEQA case”, these arguments center on the State of California’s violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. The New 49’ers and Western Mining Alliance are partners with PLP in this action and will be present in court as well. Judge Ochoa has latitude to issue a ruling at the time of oral arguments or defer to a later date.

In 2015, Judge Ochoa ruled in the miner’s favor on the issue of Federal Preemption and that as a matter of LAW and in actual FACT, that the State’s “extraordinary scheme” of requiring permits then refusing to issue them is an “obstacle to the full purposes and objectives of Congress”. PLP will defend this important court victory at the appellate level against the State when necessary.

Court Information

Where:
San Bernardino Superior Court (Judge Gilbert Ochoa)
When:
Wednesday, January 20th, 8:30 a.m.
Address:
247 West Third Street San Bernardino, CA 92415-0210

Thank you very much,
PLP Board of Directors

GPAA GOLD AND TREASURE SHOW IN POMONA, CA FEBURARY 20-21

The Gold Prospectors Association of America will be holding their annual Gold and Treasure Shows starting Feburary 20th in Pomona, California. Public Lands for the People is scheduled to be on hand at every Gold and Treasure Show this season. It is a thrill to see familiar folks at these events, and a pleasure to meet new ones. Please attend one of these shows, stop by the PLP booth and say hello.
GPAA Gold and Treasure Show Schedule

Thank you very much,

PLP Board of Directors

 

 

MMAC PROGRESS UPDATE 12-16-2015

LOGOS_XMinerals & Mining Advisory Council Year End 2015 Progress

MMAC is now releasing the rev 40 of the Mineral Regulatory Reform Act proposed bill.  It incorporates the concerns of miners from the past end of summer submissions.  We have removed the notion that MMAC or the Mining Districts would become an agency beholden to any U.S. President.  Instead, the bill expands, clarifies and empowers the Mining District’s role as arbiter of reasonable regulations.  MMAC has struggled over the fact that the Mining Districts could have liabilities if they were strictly rule makers and that is why we were previously leaning towards an agency status in order to give the Mining Districts qualified immunity.  The Mining Districts acting as arbiters of reasonable regulation place them squarely within a judicial capacity invoking immunity.

The www.mmacusa.org website has been clarified and upgraded to show the progress of MMAC and PLP.  The new rev 40 of the MMAC bill is available on the site for download.   A large database of traditional Mining District bylaws are forming on the website for the miners to download.  Scott Harn with the ICMJ is taking the lead in breaking hundreds of Mining District bylaws down by State and County level.

The challenge MMAC is having right now is creating a cost effective database in order to contact claimholders via e-mail or phone regarding the MMAC bill or notifications of Mining District elections.  Presently, we have a joint proposal to the Western Mining Alliance to fill this need and who already have this database.  BLM’s LR2000 only has names and addresses.  We are also hopeful that Joe Martori (when he can break loose of his busy schedule) can set up a teleconference in January with the MMAC regional administrators so these boots on the ground have instructions and can lift some weight off of the rest of us.

Feel free to post this and send this to other miners interested on where MMAC is right now.

Background information on MMAC’s objectives can be found by reading Miners Making the Rules and Regulations.

If you are not getting responded to by the MMAC website and need more info call (530) 273-0420 until such time MMAC administrators contact numbers are made available on the MMAC website.

Those organizations that wish to partner with MMAC and that share MMAC’s objectives are asked to contact us.

 

-Clark Pearson, Interim coordinator for MMAC

ANNUAL PLP CHRISTMAS PARTY DECEMBER 17th

The Annual PLP Christmas Party will be held on December 17th at Keene Engineering, 8940 Lurline Ave, Chatsworth, CA  91311. The party kicks off at 7:00 p.m., and everyone is welcome.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a wrapped gift with a value of at least $10 which will be included in our raffle present giveaway. PLP will be donating several gifts as well, and Pat Keene promises to put some very nice presents under the tree.

This casual but very social event will offer catered sandwiches and beverages courtesy of Keene Engineering. As always, Barry Wetherby will be supplying his famous champagne punch. Since this is a potluck affair, you are welcome to bring a side dish or dessert.

The PLP Board hopes you can attend this annual affair. It is an excellent way to catch up with friends and establish new contacts. You can listen to the latest updates concerning our court cases and ongoing projects, as well as learn what lies ahead in 2016.

If you have any questions, please send us an email at: info@publiclandsforthepeople.org

We hope to see you there,
PLP Board of Directors

PLP MEDIA RELEASE on CEQA COURT CASE SETTLEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

Public Lands for the People

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, Nov. 23, 2015

The following is a media release issued by Public Lands for the People, a national non-profit organization based in California:

CEQA court case settlement to cost taxpayers $350,000

Public Lands for the People has recently learned that the state of California has offered to pay $350,000 to a coalition of environmental groups, including the Karuk Tribe and Center for Biological Diversity, to drop a lawsuit over the California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s 2012 suction dredge mining regulations.

The case centers around a flawed study under the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires state and local agencies to identify significant environmental impacts and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible. The court battle, known in mining circles as the CEQA case, involves two separate lawsuits:

The Karuk Tribe, Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Law Foundation, Pacific Federation of Fisherman’s Associations and Friends of the River allege that the regulations adopted in March 2012 were not developed in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act, fail to mitigate identified impacts and are inconsistent with existing state law. The case was filed April 3, 2012 in Alameda County Superior Court.

Meanwhile, Public Lands for the People also sued the state, alleging that the Subsequent Environmental Impact Report, which was based on reports from Horizon Water and Environment, a consulting firm based in Oakland, Calif., was improperly and unlawfully conducted and therefore rendered skewed, unscientific findings.

“The 2012 dredging regulations were based on bad science from a deeply flawed environmental report,” said PLP President Walt Wegner. “The SEIR results were used to prop up the case for far more restrictive suction dredge mining regulations because of pressure from these environmental groups.”

The SEIR study claims that suction dredge mining has several “potentially significant impacts” on the environment, even though all previous studies had concluded that dredging causes a “less than significant impact,” Wegner said.

“How does this drastic change in study results happen overnight? The study is bogus and heavily influenced by politics—not science,” said Wegner. “And, now after years of battling the CEQA case, these environmental groups have decided to take the money and run, leaving California taxpayers on the hook for $350,000.”

PLP Attorney James Buchal said it’s a shame that state taxpayers will be stuck with the tab, again.

“It is regrettable that once again the state of California has decided to shovel hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to entities working to cripple the state’s natural resource economy. To make matters worse, the state agreed to pay that money and allow the tribe and its allies to dismiss their claims without prejudice, meaning they could bring them all over again for a second payoff,” Buchal said. “The Karuks are done; they’ve settled. The state and the tribe have agreed to it, and at this point I think it’s just a pro forma approval by the judge, and the money will be paid.”

PLP’s CEQA case is expected to proceed Jan. 20 in San Bernardino County Superior Court.

“With the tribe dismissing its claims,that leaves only the miners claiming that the environmental analysis of the 2012 regulations was defective. But, what gives this a sort of surreal and Kafkaesque quality is that back in January the judge ruled that the regulations are unconstitutional anyway,” Buchal said, referring to another dredging case heard by California Superior Court Judge Gilbert Ochoa.

Ochoa ruled in January 2015 that the federal Mining Law of 1872 pre-empts the state ban on dredging under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which states that federal law supersedes state law. The ruling was deemed a win for miners, however the state continues to cite dredgers and has refused to issue dredging permits to miners.

Clark Pearson, northern director for PLP, said the CEQA case settlement wreaks of cronyism and corruption between the state and environmental groups.

“It doesn’t pass the smell test,” Pearson said. “This was a sweetheart lawsuit … so basically they were paid off to drop the case. Do you think the same offer will be made to miners? I highly doubt it. No offer has been made to us, and we are the prevailing party. We should be entitled to attorney fees.”

Suction dredge mining has been banned since 2009 in what began as a two-year moratorium imposed under Senate Bill 670, and extended under various legislation.

“That so-called moratorium has become a de facto ban, which is unconstitutional—and small-scale suction dredge miners are paying the price,” Wegner said. “The state has crippled the local economies of many mining towns in California, and is actually making the mercury problem worse. Contrary to the propaganda from some environmental groups that it may harm fish, dredging not only removes mercury and lead from California streams and rivers but it cleans hard-packed, silt-covered gravels that salmon and other fish need to spawn, and it also improves fish habitat by creating refugia.”

Sue-and-settle cases

Friendly lawsuits, or sue-and-settle cases, have been the subject of investigations in Washington, D.C. In fact, the Center for Biological Diversity is listed as fourth on the list of most frequent environmental group plaintiffs in sue-and-settle cases in a 54-page report, “Sue and Settle, Regulating Behind Closed Doors,” published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2013.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce “Sue and Settle, Regulating Behind Closed Doors” report: https://www.uschamber.com/sites/default/files/documents/files/SUEANDSETTLEREPORT-Final.pdf

The Karuk Tribe is based in the northwestern corner of the state in Humboldt and Siskiyou Counties and has opposed suction dredging mining along with environmental groups, such as the Center for Biological Diversity.

Public Lands for the People is a 501[C](3) nonprofit corporation whose mission statement is “to represent and assist outdoor user groups and individuals interested in keeping public and private lands open to prospecting, mining and outdoor recreation through public education, scientific data and legal means.”

NOTE: (Kafkaesque refers to Franz Kafka and his novels about arbitrary bureaucracy.)

For more information, contact:
PLP President Walt Wegner
Phone: (818) 887-5970
Website: www.PublicLandsForThePeople.org
Email: info@publiclandsforthepeople.org

Public Lands for the People
20929 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 47-466
Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Public Lands for the People is a 501(C)(3) Nonprofit Corporation: #95-4521318 & 1880483

MMAC FUNDRAISING UPDATE: PLP & MMAC MEET WITH HOWARD “BUCK” McKEON

PLP would like to bring you up to date on the Minerals and Mining Advisory Council (MMAC) meeting with General John F. Kelly, USMC Commander, U.S. Southern Command, and Howard “Buck” McKeon, former Chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
This meeting took place Friday, November 6^th, 2015 where the parties discussed MMAC’s new proposed legislation “Minerals and Mining Regulatory Reform Act a Clear Path Respecting Mining Rights”. PLP and MMAC are in negotiations with the McKeon Group LLC to have the firm deliver the MMAC Bill to the House and Senate Floor as soon as possible. Also present at this meeting was MMAC Counsel Bill Jensen, PLP Board Member Pat Keene, PLP President Walt Wegner, and MMAC Founder Joe Martori.
PLP’s primary responsibility in its association with MMAC is to administer the donations received on MMAC’s behalf. We are supporters of the MMAC mission to pass legislation to put miners on equal footing with other Federal agencies and have miners control their destiny within the organized mining districts. Even with our MMAC involvement, PLP’s primary energy will continue to focus on our ongoing court litigation and the interests of our members.

It is critical for our community at large to donate in order to move this process forward. By clicking on the link below you can:

Learn more about MMAC’s mission.
Review key documents of interest. 
Contact a MMAC counsel with questions you may have. 
Learn how you can donate to support this legislation. 
MMAC FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN 
Thank you very much,
Walt Wegner
President, PLP

A few selected photos taken at the McKeon Leadership Forum November 6, 2015 at College of the Canyons in Valencia Ca. featuring General John F. Kelly, USMC Commander, U.S. Southern Command:

The PLP/MMAC team with Chairman Buck McKeon discussing the new proposed legislation “Minerals and Mining Regulatory Reform Act a Clear Path Respecting Mining Rights”.

The PLP/MMAC team with Chairman Buck McKeon discussing the new proposed legislation “Minerals and Mining Regulatory Reform Act a Clear Path Respecting Mining Rights”.

The PLP/MMAC Team at the McKeon Leadership Forum. (L-R) Walt Wegner, Pat Keene, Joe Martori, and Bill Jensen.

The PLP/MMAC Team at the McKeon Leadership Forum. (L-R) Walt Wegner, Pat Keene, Joe Martori, and Bill Jensen.

The PLP/MMAC Team with Morris Thomas, Regional Director of The McKeon Group LLC.

The PLP/MMAC Team with Morris Thomas, Regional Director of The McKeon Group LLC.

Members of the PLP/MMAC Team with Howard "Buck" McKeon (center) and General John F. Kelly.

Members of the PLP/MMAC Team with Howard “Buck” McKeon (center) and General John F. Kelly.

DAVE FJELD MEMORIAL FUND UPDATE: THE LIST OF DONORS

Dave Fjeld, who was very active in Mizzouri prospecting, passed away June 12th, 2015. His wife, Carolyn, set up a memorial fund in Dave’s name to raise funds for PLP. You can read the full text of the article detailing Dave’s memorial fund by clicking Over the Divide.

Most good things in our lives are about the people around us. This memorial is about Dave’s family and friends. PLP wishes to thank Carolyn Fjeld, the entire Fjeld family, and all the donors who are listed below:

 

William Mathein                                                          Barbara Meyer

Donna Daniels                                                            Harvey Walden

Carol Smith                                                                Jeffery & Rhonda Larma

Dave & Betty Gilliland                                                  Robert & Maureen Riordan

Carl & Mary Anna Wolf                                                Nina Thomas

John & Andrea Bargiel                                                 Doug & Emily Schrader