2019 Grand Raffle Winners!

We would like to thank everyone who participated in this year’s Grand Raffle, both those who donated prizes and those who purchased raffle tickets. Together we made it a success! This raises funds to support the work we are doing to preserve and take back our rights granted to us by the 1872 Mining Act and other key laws.
1. 1/2 ounce nugget: Harold Clapper
2. 4 stack Gold Cube with Trommel: Foothills Prospectors
3. Makro Gold Racer detector: Norman Bauer
4. Mad Mining Electric Drywasher: Betty Peck
5. Mad Ming Cleanup Kit: Brett Humphries
6. Mad Mining 1105 Sluicebox: Doug McCormick
7. Fast furnace Kiln: Frank Madsem.
8. 20 acre mining claim: Aaron Tuck
9. Goldstrike Adventure package: Jon Wentzel
10. Josh Reinke’s Claim Location Service: Everett GPAA Chapter
11. 1851 Colt replica: Michael Smith
12. Spin It Off: Bill Heinle
13. Spin It Off: Francis Mcnaul
14. Bucket Flair: Tony LaValle
15. Bucket Flair: Robert Young
MINI-PREVIEW OF 2020 Grand Raffle and PLP’s 30th Year defending your rights to enjoy multiple use on Public Lands:
1. 10 Ounces of Silver donated by John Godfrey
2. 20 Acre Placer Mining Claim donated by Ron Kliewer
3. And…Much More to Come!

MINERS FILE PETITION TO CHANGE FEDERAL MINING REGULATIONS

On June 18, 2019, In the wake of the Bohmker case being denied a hearing by the Supreme Court, a coalition spearheaded by the Waldo & Galice Mining Districts, along with nine other mining organizations including PLP, sent a “Petition for Rulemaking to Stop State-Law Based Prohibitions of Mining on Federal Lands” to Secretary of Interior Bernhardt and Secretary of Agriculture Purdue. Read the petition for rulemaking document here.

A more through explanation of how to send a letter in support of this important petition can be found on the Waldo Mining District website.

Submitted by Tom Kitchar of the Waldo Mining District:

In their Petition, the Miners request that the BLM regulations at 43 CFR 3809, and the Forest Service regulations at CFR 228, be amended where the regulations currently allow or authorize states to set unlimited restrictions (above and beyond any federal regulations) on mining on lands of the United States open to mining.

Q:  How can the BLM or FS (lawfully) authorize the states to do something they themselves are barred from doing? 

A:  They can’t… but they did it anyway because guess-who was President.

Amendments to the Mining Law in 1955 gave the United States the right to manage the non-mineral resources on unpatented mining claims providing that:

 “…any use of the surface of any such mining claim by the United States, its permittees or licensees, shall be such as not to endanger or materially interfere with prospecting, mining or processing operations or uses reasonably incident thereto…”     30 U.S.C. 612(b)  (emphasis added)

Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the ultimate authority over all lands owned by the United States.  Congress has delegated the authority to manage the public domain lands to a variety of federal agencies, including the Dept. of Interior (and BLM) and the Dept. of Agriculture (and Forest Service), who manage the Public Lands that are open to mining.

However, 30 U.S.C. 612(b) prohibits the federal agencies from endangering or materially interfering with mining on unpatented claims.  This is because on mineralized land, mining is the “best use” and all other uses are at the most equal or secondary to mining (this is why the BLM or USFS cannot “prohibit” mining).

So, in the early 2000’s, the BLM and USFS amended their mining regulations adding language requiring all miners obtain all required state permits… and then went on to say even if those state regulations are more strict than the federal regulations require… with no set limit.

The Rinehart and Bohmker cases were denied by the U.S. Supreme Court in part because the BLM and USFS regulations gave the states the authority to restrict mining basically anyway they wanted, and apparently without any federal oversight.  If the state required a permit, all the BLM or USFS cared about was that miner obtained the permit, without really caring about what restrictions were in the permit…

…and thus, California shut down all suction dredge mining statewide in 2009, followed by Oregon’s ban on motorized in-stream mining in most streams in 2017 – and got away with it.  Because of those regulations, and the standing U.S. 9th Circuit decision in Bohmker, until those regulations are amended, the states have carte blanche to regulate or restrict nearly any mining or other use of the federal lands by passing a law (for any reason and without any proof under the guise of “protecting the environment” from an undisclosed harm to ???); even to the point of a prohibition.

Q:  How can the BLM or FS (lawfully) authorize the states to do something they themselves are barred from doing? 

 A:  They can’t… And now we are formally petitioning for change as allowed under 5 U.S.C. § 553(e) to amend the 3809 and 228 regulations adding language that any state restrictions on mining on federal lands that endanger or materially interfere with the mining are automatically preempted by federal law… limiting state authority to reasonable “standards based” restrictions without any prohibitions or moratoriums.

 

JUNE Newsletter

PLP exists to “Represent and assist outdoor user groups and individuals interested in keeping public and private lands open to prospecting, mining and outdoor recreation through education, scientific data and legal means.”

Hello Friends,

The much-anticipated “Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals” has now been released by an interagency report.  This strategy was set in motion by President Trump’s Executive Order 13817, “A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals,” on December 20, 2017. The Executive Order directs the Secretary of Commerce, in coordination with heads of selected executive branch agencies and offices, to submit a report to the President that includes key points to help the ailing U.S. mining industry and the U.S. minerals supply chain.

This report focuses on 6 call to action items, 24 goals, and 61 recommendations that describe specific steps that the federal government will take to achieve the objectives outlined in Executive Order 13817.  Call to action number 5 is of the most importance to PLP and our members because this section will benefit the average miner and public lands user who embraces multiple-use access principles upon our public lands.  PLP’s Clark Pearson and the ICMJs Prospecting & Mining Journal’s Scott Harn delivered many educational materials (and complaints) in multiple meetings with federal agency department heads over the course of two years covering many of the points now called for in this new Federal Strategy report.

We wish to thank our membership and our financial sponsors that allowed us to make these important trips to DC so that the decision makers could better understand our specific needs in the over-arching quest for regulatory relief.

The following subparts of call to action number 5 we wish to highlight and are as follows:

 5.2         Revise land-use planning processes to require that Surface Management Agencies (SMAs) designate and classify lands based on whether they are prospectively valuable for mineral development.

5.3          Revise policies to ensure Federal lands identified as prospectively valuable for exploration or development of mineral resources are properly considered before they can be recommended for withdrawal or encumbered with a land-use designation that would restrict the development of these resources. (DOI [BLM] and USDA [USFS]; 1 year)

5.4          Review existing withdrawals, land-use designations, and planning allocations and recommend appropriate measures to reduce unnecessary impacts that they may have on mineral exploration, development, and other activities. Any analysis performed should quantify and qualify the economic and national security implications of: reducing the size of an existing withdrawal, reducing the area affected by a land-use designation, changing planning allocations, or revoking an existing withdrawal. When deciding the order in which to review existing withdrawals, restrictions, or allocations, land management agencies should prioritize consideration of areas with the greatest potential for discovery of critical minerals. (DOI [BLM] and USDA [USFS]; 2 years)

Mining claim holders may be guaranteed reasonable access across Federal lands to their mining claims by law.  However, the term “access” is not clearly defined under existing policies and this leads to problems with the implementation of travel management plans. Travel management plans identify which roads or trails are open to motorized vehicles, off highway vehicles, and identifies areas that may be closed altogether and blocked from motorized use. However, these plans do not adequately account for the importance of access to lands for mineral development. Accordingly, SMA’s travel management plans should be created or amended to prioritize access for mineral exploration. Further, existing infrastructure should be maintained or improved to allow access to mineral resources. Maintaining infrastructure may be the responsibility of the SMA or the private sector and depends on the purpose of the infrastructure.

5.5          SMAs should create or amend travel management plans to facilitate access for exploration and development of minerals to the extent practicable. When deciding the order in which to amend or create new travel management plans, land management agencies should prioritize consideration of areas that contain the greatest critical mineral potential. (DOI [BLM] and USDA [USFS]; 1-2 years)

Note: Currently, there is no agreement between federal and state regulatory agencies, industry, non-governmental organizations, and the Government Accountability Office on a uniform definition for time spent reviewing, processing, and issuing permits for prospecting, exploring, and developing a mine or mine site. Accordingly, land-use management and permitting agencies do not have suitable tools to analyze the performance of permitting processes. It is PLP’s opinion that this will most likely usher into play federal pre-emption of conflicting state prohibitions that is currently on display in California and Oregon and resolve them in the miner’s favor absent real science.

5.6          Develop a publicly accessible online system to track milestones for mining projects, including the time it takes State and Federal agencies to review, process and issue permits. (DOI [BLM] and USDA [USFS]; 1-2 years)

5.7          Update agency NEPA processes to streamline NEPA analysis with an emphasis on providing timely processing of mining Plans of Operations.  (DOD [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)], DOI [BLM], and USDA [USFS]; 2-4 years)

5.10        Revise BLM and USFS procedures to allow for the incorporation and validation of existing environmental review and analysis for mining projects completed by States and other entities. (DOI [BLM] and USDA [USFS]; 1-2 years) (I think we know what State reviews are Not Valid)

5.11        Provide recommendations for revisions to 43 CFR 3809, Surface Management, and to 36 CFR 228 Subpart A, Locatable Minerals, to streamline and reduce redundant reviews. (DOI [BLM], USDA [USFS]; 1-2 years)

5.12        Harmonize regulations that affect surface mining. (DOD [USACE], DOI [BLM], and USDA [USFS]; 1-2 years)

5.14        Execute MOUs for the review of Plans of Operation for mines with mixed ownership status that includes timelines and procedures for participation and dispute resolution. (DOI [BLM] and USDA [USFS], in coordination with State agencies; 1-2 years)

_______________

There you have the top ten highlights from the guidance report, but there are many more. Overall, PLP is very pleased with the direction of this report and the upcoming results through de-regulation that will follow.  America will be stronger and more secure without sacrifice to the environment.  The full report can be viewed online.

Q: What does all this mean?  A: New, revised travel plans must consider unpatented claimholders and the mining industry must be accommodated in revised mineral regulations that work for us and are truly reasonable, not guided by arbitrary bureaucratic terms that can be written by the Sierra Club and weaponized against the miner.

And finally, it potentially means—for those miners in California and Oregon—that the Trump administration may move to displace prohibitive state regulations that cannot be harmonized or validated with respect for, or in accordance with, a federal preemption mining claim located upon federal managed land.  Now wouldn’t that be great!

PLP expects a draft of the new mineral regulations to come out next year.  PLP will be engaged in this upcoming rule cleaning process in DC and ICMJ Prospecting & Mining Journal will report on it in greater detail in the coming months.

PLP’s proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) called “Critical Minerals: National Security Amendments to the NDAA”, for the time being, has taken a back seat to Congressman Amodei’s reintroduced proposal on Critical Minerals.  In the meantime, we are encouraged by support from the leadership at the Western Caucus that two of our amendments (sections 104-105) will be integrated into a compatible bipartisan bill in the near future.  These two sections are to clarify EPA “incidental fallback” and to preclude MSHA mine owner/operators with no employees from being treated like large corporate entities. They appear to be the least controversial, yet will help most small miners in the process.

Also, PLP has renewed our push at the federal EPA to get a resolution on “incidental fallback” so the California State Water Resources Control Board, Oregon’s DEQ, and the federal regional offices of the EPA do not require 402 permitting for suction dredge miners because the activity fits squarely within this exemption. This will squash the state-rigged game and torture cycle of requiring a permit and then not issuing one.

If you have not already signed on to the support petition we have on our website, please do so. The Critical Minerals amendments are a must read and should go down as the most important piece of legislation to help the mining industry in a very long time.

You can help us TAKE ACTION! PLP’s petition drive is at: https://www.publiclandsforthepeople.org/take-action/ where you can read the proposed legislation and support material and sign our petition to US Senators and Representatives. Thousands of signatures will prove to the legislators the groundswell grassroots support is there and convince them that the time to act is now.  ICMJs Prospecting and Mining Journal also has it available for viewing and comment at: www.icmj.com, and has faithfully documented our progress in Washington, D.C.  The ICMJ has taken the lead to receive individual miner and mining association endorsements in support of the “Critical Minerals: National Security Amendments to the NDAA” on their Facebook page or sending to their mailing address: ICMJ, P.O. Box 2260, Aptos, CA 95001. You can read the latest update on our trips to DC online.

Please do your part to help us Take It Back and Keep It! Renew your personal, business or club membership and PLEASE HAVE ALL YOUR CLUB Members join PLP as well. Encourage everyone to be an active part of the solution and be among those who are making history.

Don’t forget, there is still time to purchase your 2019 Grand Raffle tickets! A book of 12 tickets only costs $10. Don’t wait until the last-minute rush! You can’t win if you don’t enter! We can mail them to you or drop your tickets in the barrel for the July 9th drawing—your choice. To purchase tickets, call our toll-free number (844)-PLP-1990 which is (844) 757-1990 OR Mail a Check (to the address below) and specify the number of ticket books you wish to purchase. Let us know if you want us to assign your ticket numbers and drop them in the barrel or mail them to you to fill out and mail back.   Supporting the PLP Grand Raffle helps us continue to fight for your rights.

We look forward to hearing from you,

JOIN, VOLUNTEER or DONATE

Your PLP Board of Directors

Public Lands for the People, 23501 Burbank Blvd., Woodland Hills CA 91367

PLP CALL TO ACTION

2019 article by Brad Jones that was published by GPAA in the June Pick and Shovel Gazette:

PLP proposes amendments to NDAA in support of mining rights

 

By Brad Jones

 

After many years of fighting costly court battles, Public Lands for the People has launched a new strategy to defend mining rights for all miners large and small.

 

This year alone, PLP — working in conjunction with Scott Harn, editor and publisher of ICMJ’s Prospecting and Mining Journal — has made four trips to Washington, D.C. to meet with lawmakers, their aides and federal government departments. And, a fifth trip is expected soon.

 

PLP’s researcher Clark Pearson was invited to the White House in 2018 and he and Harn recently returned from a second meeting at the White House in April.

 

“Both meetings were very important to express the concerns of small miners to President Trump’s key advisors,” Pearson said. “For the last three years, PLP has distributed education materials to members of Congress, and for the last two years has been engaging in ongoing meetings with top officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Interior and even the Pentagon, providing specific language needed regarding regulatory certainty for the mining industry.”

 

PLP has long held the position that without consistency and clearly defined regulations, America’s mining industry will continue to find itself in peril. For the last few decades, mining groups have been railroaded into state courtrooms to fight the onslaught of overregulation spurred on by sue-and-settle lawsuits from radical environmental lobby groups which have been accused of working in collusion with federal, state and local agencies to restrict mining operations and peddle government land grabs.

 

Individual states trampling on the federal rights of miners under the law has been the crucible of contention for decades. And, at the crux of all the court battles is the miners’ steadfast belief in their congressionally granted mining rights under the federal Mining Law of 1872, and federal preemption. In other words, miners believe that federal mining law supersedes, or preempts, state law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution of the United States, which states that federal law is the “supreme law of the land,” and therefore trumps state law.

 

“Without a reasonable permit system and access to known and potential mineral deposits, there cannot be regulatory certainty. Without regulatory certainty, there will be no development of critical minerals in the United States and no critical minerals supply chain,” Harn said. “And, without a critical minerals supply chain in America, our national security is continually in jeopardy.”

 

National Defense

For these reasons, PLP has proposed amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act. The proposed legislation, “Critical Minerals: National Security Amendments to the NDAA,” is subtitled “Breaking China’s grip on America’s mining and production of critical minerals.” It is further subtitled, “China’s well-executed plan, complicity of the American tech industry and U.S. policy failures led to a major national security vulnerability in critical minerals.”

 

The proposed amendments, if adopted, would:

  • Provide regulatory certainty that is critical for the mining industry and American investment in critical minerals.
  • Provide relief from America’s dependency on China and other unfriendly nations for critical minerals essential for our high-tech and military needs, which is essential for America’s national security.
  • Help curb the devastating environmental destruction occurring in China, which has profound and unwelcome effects on the United States and the world.
  • Help prevent the theft of intellectual property by eliminating the need for American companies to relocate manufacturing to China in order to secure a critical mineral supply chain.

 

The proposed legislation is available on PLP’s website: PublicLandsForThePeople.org/ndaa

 

Congress oversees the defense budget mainly through two yearly bills: the NDAA and defense appropriations bills. The authorization bill determines the agencies responsible for national defense, sets funding levels and policies under which money will be spent.

 

PLP President Ron Kliewer said the NDAA provides a practical means for miners’ voices to finally be heard.

 

“Our best bet is to get mining rights legislation into the NDAA because Congress has to pass it every year. I don’t see any other way,” Kliewer said. “In the last three years, American companies have made $1.66 billion in mining deals with the Chinese.”

 

The actual mining, he said, is taking place in China and other countries, and although this is a lucrative arrangement for the Chinese government and American tech companies, it is putting American national security at risk.

 

After countless hours of legal research, PLP began to develop a new strategy to connect with the powers-that-be in D.C. by educating lawmakers about the importance of mining to national security.

 

PLP board members were also shocked to discover that some of the so-called national mining advocacy groups appear to be working against the best of interests of small-scale miners.

 

So, with nowhere left to turn it seemed, PLP decided to go to where the buck stops: Congress and the Trump administration.

 

“We’ve learned that we can’t get a fair shake in the California courts,” Kliewer said. “The bigger picture is what’s going on nationally and internationally. We’ve learned where to put our efforts to get the biggest bang for the buck, and by getting this proposed legislation into the National Defense Authorization Act, it will take precedence over state jurisdiction.”

 

“We’re making inroads but we haven’t gotten any legislation through yet,”  The proposed legislation is currently going through the final edit and formatting by legislative council on Capitol Hill.”  Kliewer said.

 

The Trump Factor

PLP remains optimistic with the pro-mining and national security policies of President Donald Trump compared to the restrictive anti-mining policies of former president Barack Obama and his administration.

 

PLP Treasurer Walt Wegner concurred that the Trump administration is more mining friendly and has shown a much deeper interest in the need for securing the availability and independent production of strategic minerals for national defense.

 

“Trump has changed the direction of where we were going as far as environmental issues. If he could just wave his magic wand, he would help us tomorrow, but this president has a big part of Washington including the Democrats and Republicans against him,” Wegner said. “You’ve got to remember he beat the hell outta the Republicans, too. He’s been fighting an uphill battle since the day he got into office.”

 

While Trump has voiced many concerns about China’s unfair manipulation of currency and theft of intellectual property rights in the global marketplace, the issue of strategic minerals for America’s national defense rarely, if ever, surfaces in the mainstream news cycle.

 

“This president is all about national security. He’s going after China. He’s put tariffs on them. China has been ripping us off. This has been one of his main platforms,” Wegner said. “We are importing over 90 percent of our strategic minerals from China, so it is a national security issue. Hands down! We have taken it to the top level of our government’s concern.”

 

China could shut down the production of rare earth minerals overnight and it would take the U.S. at least two years to recover with its own mining production, he said.

 

“The military is on board with us but they’re not a political arm. So, I think this president has done a lot to help us, but he’s got a lot on his plate. We’re encouraged that these amendments will go into the National Defense Authorization Act,” Wegner said. “Trump is doing some great things! We haven’t seen a president like this ever. I would say this president is more conservative than any conservative president we’ve had in years and years.”

 

PLP’s Mission

Despite the new strategy, the fundamental mission of PLP and the vision of its late founder Jerry Hobbs have remained the same since its inception in 1990, said Wegner.

 

“We haven’t changed our course. We’ve stayed with his vision and we’ve stayed with our no-compromise philosophy. Of course, there is no way to say, ‘Well, Jerry Hobbs would have done this’ or ‘Jerry Hobbs would have done that.’ A lot of people do that, but very few people knew Jerry as well as I did. I was vice-president, so I knew him as far as PLP goes better than anybody.”

 

For many years, PLP was involved in court battles in support of mining rights, most notably those in support of suction dredge mining when California imposed a statewide ban in 2009.

 

“What we’ve found through years of litigation ­­— and Jerry Hobbs really recognized this too — is that the courts are corrupt and we weren’t getting justice, especially in California,” Wegner said.

 

And, although PLP wanted to appeal Judge Gilbert Ochoa’s ruling on the suction dredge cases in California Superior Court, the mining community had grown weary of legal wrangling after small-scale gold miner Brandon Rinehart’s federal preemption case was overturned, and funding completely dried up, Wegner said.

 

“This left the prohibitive 2012 California suction dredge mining regulations in place that had been promulgated illegally, relying on a phony Supplemental Environmental Impact Report,” Kliewer said.

 

Educating Lawmakers

One of the problems miners face in the courts is that federal mining laws are often vague and should be updated to cover technological advances and more modern mining methods, Wegner said. And, because creating laws is the job of Congress — not the courts or sometimes partisan, rule-making bureaucrats — the best place to start is in Washington, D.C.

 

Considered archaic by some, the Mining Law of 1872 doesn’t spell out that it’s legal to use a suction dredge on your mining claim, for example, because suction dredges didn’t exist when the law was written.

 

“We need Congress to speak about a lot of issues on what has happened between 1872 and now. Congress really hasn’t spoken on this,” Wegner said. “We are not going to win in court here. In our opinion, it’s a corrupt system in California. But we can win in court if Congress speaks. That’s why we’ve taken this journey to get our amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act.”

 

Though PLP’s board of directors pondered the idea of proposing stand-alone legislation, the board knew it would mean digging deeper into miners’ pockets to pay for lobbying.

 

“We realized that miners, with our meager money, are not going to get stand-alone legislation,” Wegner said. “And, the State of California is never going to help the small-scale miners. We don’t need their permission and that’s why we’ve taken this route.”

 

Instead, PLP is encouraged with its latest move to educate Congress on strategic minerals and mining rights through proposed amendments to the NDAA.

 

A Practical Approach

“It’s about national security and minerals. It’s not all about gold,” Wegner said.

 

While some gold miners may scoff at PLP’s proposed legislation because it’s not hyper-focused on gold mining specifically, Wegner said skeptics may be failing to see the forest for the trees and asked that they try harder to see the big picture.

 

“Read it, and then read it again,” he said. “They will benefit. What we are pushing for in our proposed critical minerals legislation will support small miners as well.”

 

Harn agreed that the proposed amendments, if passed, will have a far-reaching, positive impact on the entire mining industry.

 

“Gold miners will certainly reap the benefits of our proposed critical minerals legislation, but the focus needs to be on critical minerals to get our proposals through Congress,” Harn said.

 

Whether newly re-established or strengthened mining rights result in the excavation of rare earth minerals used in national defense or other minerals that are refined into metals used for manufacturing solar panels, wind turbines, computers, smart phones, electric cars and all things green, all miners and America itself will benefit, Wegner explained. Critical minerals are a necessary component for everyday items from flat-screen televisions to lithium batteries to aircraft components, radar arrays and missile guidance systems.

 

“It’s all mined. We know this,” he said.

 

Mining Districts

Wegner acknowledged that mining districts remain one of the most powerful tools small-scale miners possess in their efforts to reclaim or strengthen mining rights on public lands in the western states, but motivating miners to re-establish mining district boards can be like trying to herd cats at times, he admitted.

 

Though PLP is no longer actively involved in coordinating the re-establishment of mining districts, it still supports the concept.

 

“Mining districts are the most powerful tool small-scale miners have, but lighting a fire under them or motivating them I don’t know how to do,” he said. “We encourage it. Mining districts could make huge progress on the ground level.”

 

Grassroots Support

Wegner stressed the importance of miners continuing to support PLP by backing the proposed amendments to the NDAA, purchasing a raffle ticket, becoming a member or donating funds.

 

PLP already has the attention of lawmakers in Washington, but with all the activity in D.C. and competition with other groups and causes, the challenge is to keep lawmakers focused on the importance of these proposed amendments, he said. Doing this means traveling to Washington, attending meetings and spending time educating lawmakers about the importance of mining rights.

 

“We’re a grassroots group on a shoestring budget but we’ve been able to make progress in D.C. because our cause is great. Everybody loves it. It’s for the nation and our security,” said Wegner.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • TAKE ACTION! Participate by endorsing PLP’s proposed legislation:

PublicLandsForThePeople.org/take-action

PublicLandsForThePeople.org/ndaa

Thinking outside the box: Critical Minerals Petition

Latest News

April 29, 2019
PLP has proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) called “Critical Minerals: National Security Amendments to the NDAA”. This Critical Minerals Amendment, written and proposed by our legal researcher Clark Pearson, solves most of the small miner’s regulatory problems observed by PLP over the last 29 years. A huge amount of research and practical knowledge has gone into this amendment. It was written by a working small miner to help all miners, big and small. It provides clear and concise regulatory certainty in dealing with all regulatory bodies the miner faces today. PLP is presently seeking co-sponsors on the House and Senate side.

This Critical Minerals amendment is a must read and should go down as the most important piece of legislation to help the mining industry in a very long time. You can help us TAKE ACTION! PLP has started a petition drive at: https://www.publiclandsforthepeople.org/take-action/ where you can read the proposed legislation and support material then electronically sign the petition. Your signature, along with thousands of others will be shown to select members of the United States Congress and Senate. The signatures will convince legislators of the groundswell grassroots support and that the time to act is now. ICMJ’s Prospecting and Mining Journal, which has documented our progress in Washington, D.C., also has it available for viewing and comment at: www.icmj.com.

The ICMJ has also taken the lead to receive individual miner and mining association endorsements in support of the “Critical Minerals: National Security Amendments to the NDAA” on their Facebook page or by sending your endorsement to their mailing address:

ICMJ P.O. Box 2260 Aptos, CA 95001
Read the detailed PLP update here: https://www.icmj.com/magazine/article/plp-update-4022/

Please do your part to help us Take It Back and Keep It! Renew your personal, business or club membership and PLEASE HAVE ALL YOUR CLUB members join PLP as well. Encourage everyone to be an active part of the solution and be among those who are making history.

Don’t forget, there is still time to purchase your 2019 Grand Raffle tickets! A book of 12 tickets only costs $10. Don’t wait until the last-minute rush! You can’t win if you don’t enter!

We can mail them to you or drop your tickets in the barrel for the July 9th drawing- your choice. To purchase tickets, call our toll-free number (844)-PLP-1990 which is (844) 757-1990 OR Mail a Check (to the address below), and specify the number of ticket books you wish to purchase. Let us know if you want us to assign your ticket numbers and drop them in the barrel or mail them to you to fill out and mail back. Supporting the PLP Grand Raffle helps us continue to fight for your rights.

PLP
23501 Burbank Blvd. Woodland Hills, CA 91367

We look forward to hearing from you,
Your PLP Board of Directors

CA Fish and Game posts FALSE INFO RE: Dredging regulations

Now the lowdown on the State’s FAKE INFO, designed to keep more people off the waterways. Read the bottom half of this news item for the real code language!

Fake info on CA Fish & Wildlife website:
www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/suction-dredge-permits

Suction Dredge Permits

Last update : 10/19/2017 11:08:30 PM

Current Status

The use of vacuum or suction dredge equipment, otherwise known as suction dredging, is currently prohibited and unlawful throughout California.

Under new state law effective January 1, 2016, the use of vacuum or suction dredge equipment is defined to mean the use of a mechanized or motorized system for removing or assisting in the removal of, or the processing of, material from the bed, bank, or channel of a river, stream, or lake in order to recover minerals.

Under existing state law the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is also currently prohibited from issuing any permits for suction dredging in California under the Fish and Game Code.

With state law in effect, the use of vacuum or suction dredge equipment, otherwise known as suction dredging, is unlawful in California rivers, streams, and lakes, and any such activity is subject to enforcement and prosecution as a criminal misdemeanor.

(See generally Fish & G. Code, §§ 5653, 5653.1, 12000, subd. (a).)

Mining Activity Not Currently Prohibited by the Moratorium

The ongoing statutory moratorium established by Fish and Game Code section 5653.1 prohibits some, but not all forms of mining in and near California rivers, streams, and lakes.

Individuals engaged or interested in otherwise lawful in-stream mining should be aware that other environmental laws may apply to these various other mining practices. Fish and Game Code section 5650, for example, prohibits the placement of materials deleterious to fish, including sand and gravel from outside of the current water level, into the river or stream. Further, Fish and Game Code section 1602 requires that any person notify the Department before substantially diverting or obstructing the natural flow of, or substantially changing or using any material from the bed, channel or bank of any river, stream or lake. See additional related information.

The information in bold print above DOES NOT reflect the actual language of the Fish & Game code

The code actually says:

“(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), it is unlawful to deposit in, permit to pass into, or place where it can pass into the waters of this state any of the following:

(1) Any petroleum, acid, coal or oil tar, lampblack, aniline, asphalt, bitumen, or residuary product of petroleum, or carbonaceous material or substance.

(2) Any refuse, liquid or solid, from any refinery, gas house, tannery, distillery, chemical works, mill, or factory of any kind.

(3) Any sawdust, shavings, slabs, or edgings.

(4) Any factory refuse, lime, or slag.

(5) Any cocculus indicus.

(6) Any substance or material deleterious to fish, plant life, mammals, or bird life.”

There you have it, the existing code. Now if PLP’s proposed legislation gets into the Federal code, the State will not have jurisdiction over dredging on Federally managed land. Help us get over the goal line! Join PLP today!

PLP to D.C. first thing in 2019

December 2018 PLP Newsletter

PLP’s Trump Card
Shhhhhhh… Don’t tell anyone but do you know what happens when dredge protests fail, fines are paid on unreasonable regulations and when the courts are not in your favor?  Legislation-  not ordinary legislation but must-pass legislation for budget and national security reasons. Fortunately, PLP along with the National Mining Association placed mining for the very first time in history (signed into law by President Trump August 13, 2018) so that the needs of the miners are a matter of national security under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Previously on December 20, 2017 PLP and the USGS were instrumental in having President Trump sign executive order #13817 requiring the federal government to develop and implement a strategy to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign sources for critical and strategic minerals and metals.

PLP’s work in D.C. is starting to pay off – at the Presidential level, and the agency level through direct communication on the sound premise that domestic mining regulatory relief needs are a matter of national security. President Trump in signing executive orders such as #13771, #13777 and #13817 all move the federal agencies to provide the mining community the needed regulatory relief utilizing PLP’s supplied legal research, ICMJ supplied miners complaint letters, and the experience supplied at the right time and place to the top decision makers and their writers.

We are making incremental steps implementing PLP’s Small Miner Amendments through our influence at the Executive order level, the agency rulemaking level and the Congressional level through the NDAA. Rest assured, the foundations PLP are laying along with our property rights allies, are being laid regardless of the fighting between President Trump, the Democrats or the Republicans.

Fellow Miners and Patriots, if you are going to be part of the continuing effort to repeal duplicative regulations, join or renew your PLP Membership now to keep our gains moving forward and receive the…drum roll please…

The first annual “Drain the Swamp” PLP Calendar
This nifty calendar has many important dates highlighted such as the dates President Trump signed key Executive Orders that help miners. You will also receive a PLP T-Shirt AND a book of 12 raffle tickets to our 2019 Grand Raffle!

Please join or renew now while quantities last at www.PublicLandsForThePeople.org/join/  

You can also order extra 2019 Grand Raffle tickets by calling 844.PLP.1990 (844.757.1990). We are offering many expensive prizes this year!

We are happy to report that the SCOTUS made a great ruling regarding private property rights and critical habitat designations where the USFWS had designated critical habitat for a frog that no longer existing in that area. We are happy with this ruling and are looking forward to many more common sense rulings from the SCOTUS in the future. For the SCOTUS ruling, click here.

PLP is heading to D.C. again in early January, so please help us win the next round in getting regulatory relief for small scale miners, Join PLP or Renew today! With your support we can…..
“Take It Back And KEEP IT!”

Thank you!

Your  Board of Directors

Public Lands for the People

2018 Public Lands for the People Comments on changes to 36 CFR 228 subpart A (Locatable Minerals) Regulations

Oct. 7th, 2018

USDA – Forest Service

Attn: Director-MGM Staff

1617 Cole Boulevard Bldg. 17

Lakewood, CO 80401

 

RE: 2018 Public Lands for the People Comments on changes to 36 CFR 228 subpart A (Locatable Minerals) Regulations

 

Dear Director,

Public Lands for the People Inc. (PLP) wishes to comment on the proposed regulatory changes to 36 CFR 228 (Locatable Minerals) regulations.  PLP represents thousands of small miners in the United States who have an interest in fair and reasonable mineral regulations throughout the United States upon federally managed public land.  PLP has specific comments and language that your office will find extremely helpful in your efforts to comply with EO 13817, the GAO, and our National Minerals Policy codified under 30 U.S.C. 21(a).  Most importantly, as far as miners are concerned, our comments and specific, recommended language will provide regulatory certainty to a set of regulations that have been woefully deficient since their inception in 1974.  It is PLP’s position that for this reason alone our country has become over 92% dependent upon foreign sources of raw metals and rare earth minerals to meet America’s domestic needs.

 

The Mining Law presently codified under 30 U.S.C. section 22 states:

Except as otherwise provided, all valuable mineral deposits in lands belonging to the United States, both surveyed and unsurveyed, shall be free and open to exploration and purchase, and the lands in which they are found to occupation and purchase, by citizens of the United States and those who have declared their intention to become such, under regulations prescribed by law, and according to the local customs or rules of miners in the several mining districts, so far as the same are applicable and not inconsistent with the laws of the United States.”

 

Many legal arguments have been made in various federal courts since 1974 against Forest Service personnel, and courts have ruled that regulations were being administered in a hostile fashion inconsistent with the intent of Congress.  PLP understands that over the years, Congress has given a rather conflicted message , along with some strange 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rulings that have led us to a rather unpredictable situation regarding mineral development upon our public lands such as Karuk v. Forest Service 681 F. 3d. 1006.  Because of this, America is second to last in the world rankings of conducive regulatory environments to do business.  Simply put – America has way too much conflicting red tape that is needlessly hampering its domestic producers.

 

Small Miner Amendments (SMAs)

As your office may already be aware, PLP submitted a courtesy copy of its proposed “Small Miner Amendments” to members of Congress (subcommittee on minerals and resources committees) and to your Washington, DC, Headquarters office of the U.S. Forest Service in March, 2018.  PLP is picking up good interest in these committees in addition to words of interest from your D.C. office “to implement as much reform within the Forest Service and not wait for Congress on matters of regulatory clarification for the mining industry”.  PLP wishes to reiterate that the Forest Service utilize the section of the “Small Miner Amendments” defining significant resource disturbance definitions and the enhanced section regarding notices of non-compliance mirroring the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  This would provide the regulatory certainty the mining community has desired for a very long time plus eliminate abuse by some poorly trained non-minerals staffers PLP has observed and gone to court over in the past 25 years.  Several of these cases will be addressed later in this paper.

 

The following is an excerpt from PLP’s “Small Miner Amendments” for which we would like to see as much language as possible integrated into the 36 CFR 228 regulations:

 

SECTION 103:  UNIFORM FEDERAL REGULATION

            (a)        43 U.S.C. § 1702 is amended as follows:

                        (i)         New subsections (q), (r) are added:

            “(q) ‘mine operator’ means any person or entity exercising rights of or through the holder of a federal unpatented mining claim.

            “(r) Generally ‘mining casual use’ means excavation and/or processing (including motorized excavation and processing) of less than 1,000 cubic yards of material annually per claim; or surface disturbance of less than five acres of ground; use, maintenance, or occupancy of visibly-existing or previously-existing roads / trails (implied easements), tunnels, mill sites, refining sites, bridges, or existing mining-related buildings; staging, use or occupancy of portable or removable equipment; subsurface operations; or any combination of the foregoing or similarly-limited mineral development activities.”

(b)        A new section is created at 43 U.S.C § 1748(c), titled: “Administration of Unpatented Mining Claims” with the following additions:

 

            “(a)     Federal unpatented mining claims are tracts of public land dedicated to the particular purpose of mineral development, and the exercise of the property rights in federal mining claims are to be managed exclusively in accordance with this section.”

            “(b)     Notices of Initiation (NOI) and Plans of Operation (POO)-”

                        “(i)      Mine operators may proceed with mining casual use without notice to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).”

                        “(ii)     Mine operators must provide a Notice of Initiation (NOI) to the BLM thirty (30) days in advance of commencing mining operations beyond casual use. If BLM fails to respond to the NOI within thirty (30) days, the mine operator may commence operations, unless the operation involves a surface disturbance in excess of 100 acres but less than 1000 acres, in which case BLM shall have twelve (12) months to respond and mitigate impacts, after which the operation is approved by operation of law.  All other operations exceeding 1000 acres shall be covered under a plan of operations and approved by operation of law within twenty-four (24) months”

            “(c)      Upon receipt of a NOI, BLM shall review the proposed operations for compliance with best management practices and issue a determination as to what, if any, additional best management practices are required.  NOIs may be of any duration specified by the mine operator, and the BLM’s determination with respect to the NOI shall remain effective for so long as operations continue as specified in the NOI and may be assigned to future mine operators.”

                        “(i) Final reclamation activity in general shall only be required if a mine operator and BLM geologist concur that an ore body is exhausted and that the reclamation will not impede future operations.  Seasonal reclamation activity may be required if it will not materially interfere with future mining operations.”

                        “(ii) Reclamation bonding shall only apply if surface disturbance exceeds 5 acres or 1000 cu. yards annually of processed material per claim.  Haul roads, utility roads, temporary milling sites and portable structures, and any other pre-existing land disturbance shall not be included in the 5-acre calculation.  Reclamation costs shall be based upon the average of 3 independent bids.  BLM shall recognize and give effect to bonding pools through a memorandum of understanding to assist large and small mine operators in meeting the requirements of this section.  The bids for bonds and reclamation costs may not be reviewed more often than once every 7 years.  Reclamation bonds shall be refunded to the mining operator within one (1) year of completion of the reclamation, even if the site is subject to continuing monitoring.”    

            “(d) Any personnel employed by BLM to review an NOI shall have qualifications of at least a bachelor’s degree in mine engineering with a minimum of three (3) years or more experience in private sector commercial mining operations or over five (5) years production mining experience in lode, placer and milling operations.”

 

            “(e)      If BLM determines that any mine operator is conducting operations beyond casual use without providing an NOI, or that any mine operator is conducting operations contrary to published best management practices, BLM must provide formal, written notice to the mine operator through a Notice of Noncompliance.  Such notice shall describe the noncompliance and shall specify the action to comply and the time within which such action is to be completed, generally not to exceed thirty (30) days, provided, however, that days during which the area of operations is inaccessible shall not be included when computing the number of days allowed for compliance.  The requirements to issue a Notice of Non-compliance shall apply whether or not the operator has a submitted NOI on file with the BLM and shall not be used to shut down the entire mineral operation.  Actual notice shall be presumed effective when mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested to the owner of the mining claim and operator of record as specified in BLM records, or personally served upon the mine operator.  No enforcement action by any agency, civil or criminal, may be commenced until after delivery of such notice, and no adverse action may be taken against a mine operator until after a hearing with the protections of 5 U.S.C. § 554.  No enforcement action shall halt compliant aspects of the operations that the operator qualifies under casual use activities.” 

            “(f)      Action with respect to any NOI shall not be ‘major federal action’ within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 4332 or ‘agency action’ within the meaning of 16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(2).”

 

 

 

SECTION 104.  MINE OPERATION EXEMPTIONS FROM THE CLEAN WATER ACT

            (a)        “Mining operations which do not add any chemicals to excavated aggregate or ore, other than water, and native materials, shall not be considered an “addition of any pollutant” within the meaning of 33 U.S.C. § 1362(12).” 

            (b)        “Mining and processing discharges from mining and processing involving the use of biodegradable chemicals that have a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) reading, “This product is not classified as dangerous for the environment,” “The risk of environmental effects is considered small”, or substantially equivalent language.”

                        (c)        “Suction dredge and bucket excavation mining within the natural 100-year flood plain of a water body, or operations contained through artificial impoundments to reduce offsite sediment transport comprise incidental fallback and do not represent an “addition” or “discharge” within the meaning of 33 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1342 or 1344.”

(i)         “Incidental fallback” is defined as: native rock, sand, soil, or vegetative materials picked up, processed to remove or reclaim the mined metal or minerals, and then backfilled at or near the same excavation site.  Offsite turbidity in connection with incidental fallback is also not an “addition” or “discharge” within the meaning of 33 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1342 or 1344.”    

 

PLP and ICMJ’s Prospecting and Mining Journal has presented this language to over 40,000 miners across the United States and received an overwhelming number of endorsements with little-to-no complaints.  PLP understands the Forest Service does not implement the Clean Water Act, but none-the-less, we have added this language because it is a major sticking point to the small mining community. So, any clarity from the Forest Service on the issue in coordination with the EPA and Army Corp would be greatly appreciated in order to facilitate regulatory certainty consistent with EO 13817 and EO 13783.

 

 

Why Clean up the language of Notices of Non-Compliance consistent with the SMAs?

 

While the Forest Service and the BLM both admittedly have many civil and criminal remedies available to them in order to rectify miner’s noncompliance with federal regulations, most fundamentally as founded in our countries Bill of Rights under the 5th Amendment to our Constitution is the right of Due Process. Citing a miner under 36 CFR 261 without first providing a hearing at a meaningful time and place is not Constitutional nor acceptable under normal legal jurisprudence unless you are the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. (Regarding U.S. v. Godfrey, where he got the shaft and the 9th averted their eyes to the fact no administrative hearing was provided and 36 CFR 228.7, 14 was not complied with by the Forest Service in order to gain a criminal conviction on two of the 5 counts.)   If the Forest Service does not rectify these abuses in the application of their regulations under 36 CFR 228, it will never comport with future legal challenges PLP has prepared that are not within the 9th Circuit jurisdiction.  And, as such, the Forest Service is encouraged to adopt the notice of non-compliance language provided in PLP’s “Small Miner Amendments”  in order to cure its existing constitutional defects.

 

 

Why define Significant Surface Resource Disturbance?

 

Fundamentally, the word “significant” is an arbitrary term that invites a wide range of perception not at all fitting to use for regulatory certainty.  Significant surface resource disturbance as to require the submission of a NOI or POO is a horrible regulatory standard that invites abuse every time.  As stated by judge Carlton in U.S. v Lex, 300 F. Supp. 2d 951: “There is a serious argument to be made that the regulation was ‘so vague and standard-less that it leaves the public uncertain as to’ what is prohibited. City of Chicago v. Mo-rales, 527 U.S. 41, 56, 119 S.Ct. 1849, 144 L.Ed.2d 67 (1999) (quoting Giaccio v. Pennsylvania, 382 U.S. 399, 402–403, 86 S.Ct. 518, 15 L.Ed.2d 447 (1966)). As such, the enforcement of the regulation would offend due process. In any event, the rule of lenity requires that courts infer the rationale most favorable to defendants in construing the residential purpose element. See United States v. Martinez, 946 F.2d 100, 102 (9th Cir.1991)”.

 

The Forest Service regulatory intent in dealing with this Lex decision in 2005 (70 FR 32713) stated:

Two respondents specifically requested the deletion of the phrase and its replacement by the prefatory *32725 language of §  228.4(a)(1) and the language of §  228.4(a)(1)(i)-(v). Those respondents commented that this change would ensure the continuation of the historic application of the terms ‘disturbance’ and “significant disturbance.”

 

 Response: The intent in adopting §  228.4(a)(1) of the interim rule was not to authorize a District Ranger to require a plan of operations for operations which will not exceed the scope of one or more of the exemptions in §  228.4(a)(1)(i)-(v) of the interim rule. To ensure that the final rule is not interpreted in such an unintended manner, the phrase “unless the District Ranger determines that an operation is causing or will likely cause a significant disturbance of surface resources” is not included in the final rule. Thus, pursuant to §  228.4(a)(3) of the final rule, it is clear that prior submission and approval of a proposed plan of operations is not required if the proposed operations will be confined in scope to one or more of the exempted operations mentioned in that paragraph.”  (Emphasis added.)

 

Unfortunately, in actual practice, PLP has documented that the Forest Service routinely requires POO’s for de-minimus operations. In our opinion, the regulatory intent should discourage this practice among competent minerals officers and stop wasting government time and the miner’s patience.  Such abuse has, in fact, continued, as demonstrated in U.S v. Tierney, District court, AZ (2012) where the court found that 36 CFR 228 and 261 regulations were to be applied in such a manner to not pass the vagueness test.   It was the original intent of the 1974 regulations to allow the miner to make the first call in what was significant surface resource disturbance, so long as the miner is not cutting trees or using a back hoe or bulldozer. (See Pearson v. Madrid, Plumas National Forest et. al, unpublished case from 2001 District court for the Eastern District of Cal.)

And as such, the Forest Service is encouraged to adopt the definitions and language provided in PLP’s “Small Miner Amendments” to cure the defects.

 

 

Reclamation Bonding

 

PLP is aware that the Forest Service does not have the Congressional authority to require a financial assurance before a miner proceeds to exercise his rights under the U.S. Mining Act (30 U.S.C. §§ 22-54).  In Pearson v. Madrid, Plumas National Forest et. al, unpublished case from 2001 District court for the Eastern District of Cal., Pearson was able to demonstrate to the court that he availed himself to 26 bonding companies (approved list of reclamation bonding companies) the Forest Service provided, where not one would issue and bond!  Judge Peter Nowinski stated in open court that Pearson had done his due diligence to obtain a bond and the Forest Service could not prevent him from proceeding without a financial assurance (bond) in part because it would be an unreasonable circumscription of his placer mining rights and in order for an agency such as the Forest Service to require monies from the public in light of their mining rights it must be accompanied by an express intent of Congress.

 

The problem (as PLP sees it), was created by the Forest Service itself on this matter not just because the Forest Service lacks the legal authority to require a bond, but the fact in many cases the Forest Service regulates the miner out of business over time and does not refund the bond even after reclamation is performed to the conditions of the agreed reclamation plan.  The monies are held for “ongoing monitoring”—which can be endless until the monies are used up—all the while the miner has no say in this arbitrary process.  Bonding companies stay away from bonding mining projects for the fact there is a lack of regulatory certainty.  If the miner performs the labor to reclaim the site as specified by the conditions of his approval, then the money should be refunded—not held forever.  This is a sign that “Best Management Practices” are not being applied in a fair and reasonable matter.  As stated in the 1974 Congressional oversight hearing on the proposed 36 CFR 252 (now 36 CFR 228) regulations: “…the regulations must be fair to the miner and fair to the Forest Service…”.  Therefore, the Forest Service is encouraged to adopt the definitions and language provided in PLP’s “Small Miner Amendments” to cure the defects.

 

Expiring POO’s before orebodies are exhausted

 

A common problem PLP has observed for the last 28 years is the Forest Service practice of placing an expiration date on the terms of an NOI or approval of a POO.  This practice must stop.  BLM does not do this, and this practice does not provide regulatory certainty consistent with EO 13817.   The original point of submitting a NOI or POO in 1974 was to give the Forest Service a reasonable opportunity to mitigate surface impacts in connection with mineral operations.  The Forest Service is reminded that operations under 36 CFR 228 and 30 U.S.C. 22-54 is not for the purposes of exercising a term lease system where the Federal government retains mineral ownership. Therefore, the Forest Service is encouraged to adopt the definitions and language provided in PLP’s “Small Miner Amendments” to cure the defects in the application of the 36 CFR 228 regulations.

 

 

POO Approval Time Limits

 

Everywhere across the United States, PLP has fielded complaints from miners that they are being delayed for years on the approval of their POO; some have been delayed for over a decade!  Most miners give up and the activists within the Forest Service think they have won and deterred another “evil miner” in their eyes.  PLP is aware that not all the Forest Service plays this game, so it does vary from district to district wholly dependent on each staff and their training within their districts.  Mark Amodei’s Critical Minerals bill passed into law FY 2019 deals with this problem in part.  This new law, under the National Defense Authorization Act, places a 30-month limit on the time the Forest Service must mitigate and place terms and conditions upon the approval of a POO.  Amodei’s bill will not cure the problem. It is PLP’s opinion that all it will accomplish is more litigation against the Forest Service (for their failure to act or undue delay after 30 months has gone by) brought forth under the Administrative Procedures Act.

 

In light of the fact that in Karuk v. Forest Service 681 F. 3d. 1006 the 9th Circuit told the Forest Service that an inaction under a NOI is still an action within the meaning of NEPA, the Forest Service is not foreclosed in adopting the language of PLP’s “Small Miner Amendments” in its fullest (cited above).  Providing regulatory certainty in the smoke-filled air of the 9th Circuit where miners presently loath to submit is a real incentive now and down the road.

 

Therefore, the Forest Service is encouraged to adopt the definitions and language provided in PLP’s “Small Miner Amendments” to cure the defects.

 

 

Conclusion

 

PLP’s “Small Miner Amendments” presently sitting in committee gaining sponsorship does, in our opinion, cure the problem–it helps the Forest Service and helps all miners. Why? Because PLP is asserting that while the government has a reasonable right to mitigate surface impacts under the various environmental laws The MINER still retains the bundle of rights to extract those minerals he or she has lawfully laid claim to under federal mining law.  These rights, albeit not unlimited,, referred to in the library of Congress (Mining Law – Legal and Historical Analysis published in 1989) teaches us that miners have a “Right of Self-Initiation” that cannot be unreasonably circumscribed that is not to be confused with a lease system.  PLP’s “Small Miner Amendments” attempt to place clear guidance to this contentious issue of minerals development upon public lands in the 21st Century.

 

 

 

Thank You for your consideration in this matter from the entire Board of Directors of Public Lands for the People.

 

Ron Kliewer,

 

Ron Kliewer

 

President,

Public Lands For The People

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: https://www.icmj.com/resources/news-and-events/miners-news/plp-signs-on-to-support-revisiting-404-permit-denial-at-proposed-pebble-mine-390/

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!

WE, WITH YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT, WILL HELP PRESIDENT TRUMP MAKE MINING GREAT AGAIN AND DRAIN THE SWAMP!   

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

 

Taking it Back and Keeping it,

Your PLP Board of Directors