Eastern Oregon Mining Association
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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20090101


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Please take the time to review the John Day RMP/EIS and make comment on it. Click Here to read it online. Their e-mail is John_Day_Basin_RMP@blm.gov Please comment on this lock up and the taking of private property. Thank you.


Baker County Commissioners will consider designation of four roads as County roads under RS2477 at the Commissioner meeting on January 7, 2009 at 1:00PM at the Baker County Courthouse.

All four historic roads run though Forest Service System lands, where the Forest Service has been trying to close these roads at every opportunity. The North Powder Road, and three roads on Dooley Mountain, the Mill Creek Road, Alternate Dooley Toll Road and the Auburn road, will all be considered for adoption as County roads at this meeting. Once they are officially County roads, the Forest Service can't close them.

If you haven't written the Baker County Road Master, (Ken Helgerson, at 3050 E Street, Baker City, OR 97814), take a few minutes to do so. Tell him you are in favor of the County adopting all RS2477 roads as County roads. If you can be present for the meeting on Wednesday, January 7, 2009, it would be helpful. We want the Baker County Commissioners to know we are in favor of keeping our access throughout the National Forest.


The Board of Directors looked at the increased libility of standing behind a bond. The Board of Directors voted to raise the bonding for the $1,500 dollar bond to $30 dollars. For miners that have had a previous $1,500 or $2,500 or higher bond the annual fee will be $30. For the first time miners applying for a $2,500 bond the fee is 10% of the bond one time fee, or $250 dollars for a $2,500 bond. There after it will be a annual fee of $30 per year.


You need to attend the next meeting for sure. Congressman Greg Walden's Resource Aid, Colby Marshall will be the guest speaker. Colby has been tracking the Obama appointees and will give us a run down on what he thinks will happen to resource users in the up coming administration. Don't miss this one, see you there.


Miners who forget to enclose a check with their affidavit of annual assessment, or who don't pay the full amount owed, will lose their claims, starting this year. Previously, if a miner meant to pay, but forgot to put a check in the envelope, this was considered a curable defect, and all you had to do was send the money. However, a BLM Solicitor recently decided that if the correct amount was not in BLM's hands by December 30, the claims would be forfeited.

So, double check that you have enclosed $10.00/claim, along with copies of your County proofs of labor when you send in your assessment to BLM in Portland. Be sure to send these documents via certified mail.


Ken Anderson, District Ranger for the Whitman Unit, reported that the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the North Fork Burnt River Mining Projects still isn't finished. The 49 operators in the North Fork Burnt River watershed won't be approved to mine in 2009. The Forest Service has been working for three years to rewrite sections of the EIS, but evidently they just can't get it right. It's amazing how the bureaucrats keep getting their paychecks, but somehow the poor old miner never does get one. There is something seriously wrong with this scenario. EOMA Board members will try to meet with Ranger Anderson in January to find out where the problem with the SEIS is. Any interested miners are welcome to attend this meeting.


The question most asked by participants and talked about by the technical section instructors was, what can we expect for mining from the new administration. Generally, everyone talked about getting prepared, because of the many appointments of the ex-Clinton administration.

I sat in on one session presented by MSHA. I wanted to here about the legal issues to be presented by Tom Olson, Attorney at Law. The topic was about legal issues for contractors, unfortunately, he could not make the session. Edward Green, Attorney at Law from Washington D.C. discussed what lies ahead in the new administration instead.

Green described how MSHA was in such a constant hostile spotlight from several past mine disasters; all coal related that the current and future approach was to expect an increase in citations and orders of increased dollar amounts as civil penalties. Currently, there are 23,000 back logs of appeals to MSHA, which are heard by 8 case magistrates and currently, there are no allowance for adjustments of non-compliance determinations in the regulations.

There was a Bill before the 110th Congress called the S-Miner Act HR 2768 (S stands for supplemental), but President Bush threatened to veto the Bill, therefore it will not become law under this administration. The Bill did not include any allowance for adjustments of non-compliance determinations. The Bill marked several changes, but only two stood out to me; this is the Supplemental Enforcement Authority, which gives a five year plan to increase trained inspectors and it creates an Office of Miner Ombudsman.

None of the Sections provided for any ability from MSHA to adjust any non-compliance determinations, in fact, if a pattern of violations is found to exist, the minimum fine is $50,000. It seems the Miner Ombudsman's office was created for employee whistleblowers on employers and they can remain anonymous, pursuant to the Privacy Act 1974.

The following technical course cheered me up a little; it discussed a new film to be released. It's a documentary that reveals the dominant global warming alarmism; it's called Not Evil, Just Wrong. The course also discussed how environmental organizations known as Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) file bad data lawsuits and do not provide for economic infrastructure or solutions for job losses that they affect. NGO's are using the Clean Air Act, driven by the Endangered Species Act to shut down business all over the world to create economic devastation by triggering extensive permitting. Air is everywhere and the bad data claims of the NGO's are that climate change affected by emissions is causing the warming of the Polar Bear habitat.

Ed Hardt attended a Technical Session called, Use and misuse of predictions in mine permitting and environmental management. One of the sessions discussed the Lands Council v. Mc Nair F.3d, 2008 (WL2640001) case. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed the denial of a preliminary injunction requested by environmental groups to cause the USFS to implement a NEPA review of a proposed project for Mission Brush Creek area. The court said, Lands Council ask this court to act as a panel of scientist that instructs the Forest Service how to validate its hypotheses regarding wildlife viability and to choose among scientific studies in determining whether the Forest Service has complied with the underlying Forest Plan, and order the agency to explain every possible scientific uncertainty. The 9th Circuit held that the proper role for the court is: simply to ensure that the Forest Service made no 'clear error of judgment' that would render its action 'arbitrary and capricious. The ruling instructs courts to provide substantial deference to a federal agency in the exercise of scientific expertise in reviewing decisions made under environmental statutes like the CWA and the procedural statute like NEPA.

Perhaps we need to look at the case involving the 49 miner in the North Fork Burnt River in light of this case. We also know that the Attorney General's office did not vigorously defend the Forest Service on the statutory rights to mine either. However, I remember a meeting with the Forest Service, where they had a plan that would comply with the judge's order and get the miners back mining on their claims and that was some time ago.

In the last secession, Robert Comer, Regional Solicitor, for Department of Interior Denver, CO discussed the intended role of Unnecessary or Undue Degradation (UUD) (43 USC 1732(b)), which is the Standard in protecting public affairs under FLPMA. The course discussed how the Federal agencies and the courts are changing the intent of UUD. Comer described that even the courts make a cult concept because there is no statutory definition of UUD. One example is that you can have a statutory authorized use, but if the agency deems it to be unauthorized in regulation, it is now UUD, even though no actual degradation resulted. Comer said that BLM's regulation, 3715.0-5 for occupancy is affected by the changing intent of UUD. The 1999 IBLA opinion stated 302(b) UUD is something greater than a modicum of harmful impact from a use of public lands that Congress intended to allow.

This information gives me great concern, because my appeal is currently with IBLA. BLM made the decision that my occupancy under the 3715 regulations was UUD. Although, I have good documentation in my favor, my case to IBLA is long past the 30 days for BLM's response to my appeal.

Another interesting note was that I talked with Paul Mc Nutt, BLM Mining Law and NEPA Specialist for BLM, to get a response on the issue of why BLM in the Baker area doesn't follow the same practices taught by BLM in Avoiding the Pit Falls Technical Course. Mc Nutt said a number of interesting things. Most trained geologist do not want to go to Oregon, because they cannot advance their careers, being, there is so little to mine. The Baker area appears to be a good place to send our young geologists to get trained by EOMA and then get transferred somewhere else. I pressed Mc Nutt, but what about accountability? Since funds to sue are insufficient, the best course is to appeal to IBLA on decisions. Which, I said, is just what we have been doing and batting a good average at it with Jan's help.

In conclusion, we have been making a difference, I think, but I know that some of us are getting tired of having to fight every time you want to change something or to just go out and mine. The general theme of the convention was to expect the worse and prepare for it, since change is the key word of the new administration. We need to counter the miss-information by starting a comprehensive effort to educate the public and show that mining issues are a main street business issue. In other words, when you remove resource harvesting from the public lands, the main street business will also suffer as they supply goods and services that support resource users. We need to continue to build relationships with other key groups and resource users, because if we do not tell the story, others will and the others' will more likely tell a story with misinformation.


Both Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Greg Walden have been contacted concerning the Forest Service's treatment of Twila and Betty. Both of these Congressmen are asking the Forest Service some pointed questions about why the cabin fees were raised so high, and why the ladies must destroy their cabins when they can no longer use them. Hopefully help will be coming.


Come to the EOMA meeting and catch up on the latest things that are happening in upcoming mining season. The EOMA holds their meeting the first Friday of the month here in Baker City. The meetings are held in the second floor in the City Hall Chambers of the City Hall. The Eastern Oregon Mining Association (EOMA) will meet at 6:30p.m. Friday in the City Hall Chambers. All are welcome for the general meeting to learn about the association and enjoy our monthly presentation. EOMA's monthly Director's meeting will precede the general meeting and begin at 6:00p.m.)

Should be an interesting evening so come on down and see what is happening. For those of you from out of town go South on Main Street until you come to Auburn Ave. Make a right, go one block, City Hall will be on your left on the corner of 1st and Auburn.


The 2009's are coming and will be here by February some time. Ken is closing out the 2008's and informed me he has only 6 or 7 left. The 2008 Silver Medallions were real special, some of them having multiple nuggets. Ken sez that he wanted to remind all of you who don't have a 2008 Medallion, we still have a few left. The unique thing is the date commemorates their Graduation and the Gold Nuggets lets them know how much you care. Get your order in now. Mail your check or money order to: EOMA, Medallion, PO Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814. The 2007's sell for $25 plus one dollar shipping. The new 2008's went up to $27.50 this year because of the high silver prices. Don't wait too much longer, it's a real deal with silver going up and up, by next year these will be cheap.


Thank you for your donations, please specify which Legal Fund you want your donation placed. We would like to thank Joe Mann and the Show Me Gold Prospectors for their most generous support and donations. With out the support from all of you we would not be able to carry the fight on DEQ Dredging Turbidity Permit. A suit filed by Hell's Canyon Preservation Council filed as Interveners on our dredge permit, because they don't think it is stringent enough. We have counter filed in the Court of Appeals. Help us keep up the good fight.......Send your generous donations to the EOMA Legal Fund, 700 PM. A special thanks to all of you for your continued support to defend our dredging rights. Mining Clubs and Associations across Oregon and Washington and as far away as Kansas and Missouri mining clubs and associations have formed an alliance. We are soliciting donations to defend our right to mine. If we lose it lays open all aspects of small scale


Thank you for your donations, please specify which Legal Fund you want your donation placed. A big thanks to all of you for your donation to the Jan Alexander EOMA legal Fund. Although the suit against Jan has been thrown out the animosity between us, Jan and the BLM hasn't changed much. Jan has requested that monies given in her name be placed in the EOMA Legal Fund. There will be a next time, the only thing I don't know is when.


In time for holiday gift giving and the new year, our Third Edition Calendar is out ! Fill out the flyer in the newsletter to order your 2009 calendars today. If you liked the prior years, you're sure to love this one too. The 2009 edition includes all the important dates, contact info, and mining facts that you've come to rely on plus a whole new array of pictures. With gold prices making history in 2008, some great operations began so don't miss seeing some of the snapshots. Order one for your house, one for your cabin, and give 'em as gifts... all year long... they're collectable ! If you missed out on the First or Second Edition of this collectable set, we may be able to come up with another 2007 or 2008 calendar for about five bucks, plus another buck for postage - just send us a note with your completed order form and check.


That will never happen again with the 2009 EOMA Calendar. These wall calendars have all the important dates for filing your waivers, fees, and proofs of labor. They also include BLM's fee schedule, as well as various county, federal, and agency addresses, phone numbers, and contacts. The calendars highlight important mining meetings throughout the year, offer many great mining pictures each month for you to look at and pick out the folks and places you know, and include a pull-out section of interesting gold facts and lore. Each month also includes regular holidays, lunar phases, and space for your own remainders. These calendars are essential to those of you who have mining claims, just really neat if you like mining at all, and may offer some good education for those that don't. They make great, easy, and inexpensive gifts so grab the flyer in the newsletter and order yours now... Christmas is coming and a whole new year of birthdays and other gift giving occasions. Calendars will also be available for sale at our regular first Friday meetings held in Baker City.


Thanks to the generous donations from EOMA members, these two ladies can enjoy the holidays without worry that the Malheur National Forest will be kicking them out of their homes near Bates, Oregon.

Many thanks to all of you who helped get the cabin fees paid. There has been no word from the Forest Service concerning the congressional inquiries being conducted by Senator Ron Wyden's office and Congressman Greg Walden's office. We will keep you posted as this situation unfolds.


Twila and Betty's cabins, along with the Workman cabin that is nearby, are historic structures associated with the old town of Bates, a community that was home to several thousand Oregonians from 1889 to 1975. The Edward Hines Lumber Company closed the sawmill at Bates in 1975. The mill was dismantled, the equipment and material was sold. The 131acre town site was cleared of structures, and all that remains of the original Bates cabins are the Morris, Combs and Workman cabins, making it essential that these cabins be preserved.


The old town of Bates is the site of the new Bates State Park, which will be dedicated next summer on July 25, 2009, on the Bates site. The Morris, Combs and Workman cabins are located adjacent to the new State Park, along the Middle Fork of the John Day State Scenic Waterway, immediately adjacent to the Journey Through Time State Scenic Byway.

The Malheur National Forest should be requesting that the cabins remain in place when they are no longer being used, instead of requiring the ladies to destroy their cabins. It is anticipated that recreation use and demand will increase in the Bates area, since this area is centrally located between Bend, Boise, and the Tri-Cities. All Forest and State Park visitors will enjoy seeing the cabins and envisioning what the town looked like so many years ago.

The Malheur National Forest should welcome the opportunity to work with the State, County and other interested parties as neighbors and supporters, of not only the State Park, but also in recognizing the important historic component that the Morris, Combs and Workman cabins would add to the overall plan, instead of threatening the ladies that they must destroy their homes. The Workman cabin, and Betty and Twila's cabins, should be left in place when Twila and Betty no longer need them, and these structures should be added to the National Historic Register.


For many years we have mined our small deposits without worrying about MSHA. After all, none of us hires employees, and many of us are simply in the exploration phase of our operations. Well, unfortunately, MSHA has discovered Northeast Oregon. Anyone can turn you in if you are not registered, it could be the Forest Service, BLM, or environmentalists, so all miners need to protect themselves. Ron Jacobson, head of the Boise office of MSHA, informs me that it doesn't matter if you hire employees, and it doesn't matter if you are a one man/woman operation. If you are involved in mining, and use mechanized equipment, your operation may be of interest to MSHA. Several Baker County operations are now on the MSHA roles, and a lot more will be registering before the mining season rolls around. Some operators, such as EOMP, have already contacted MSHA, and been told they are hobby mines and do not need to register. But it is up to each of you to make the call. Ron Jacobson's phone number is 208-334-1835


It only costs $1.00 per month to run your ad in the EOMA newsletter. Send your ad and payment to: EOMA, Attn. Editor, PO Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814.


Lets support our sister organization, they have supported us with their membership and contributions to our legal fund. I have attended several of these and they are a lot of fun. Chuck Chase, Executive Director, EOMA (Eastern Oregon Miners & Prospectors Inc) For a $75.00 annual family membership you can mine on any of our claims all you want, any time you want, keep all you find. We will show you how if necessary. For more info write to: EOMP P.O. Box 66 Baker City, Or 97814 www.eomp.org

STORIES AND LEGENDS (by Carmelita Holland) Now in a paperback at the Oregon Trail Museum and The Record Courier for $39. Some good color photos. Sewn backs on these books, a collection of historic photos.

FOR SALE: Three family owned gold mine claims. Aprox. 20 acres each in Elk Creek area. Two year around creeks, 1 pond, county road access. For more information call: 503-658-5737 or 503-286-5893.

FOR SALE: Eighty acre association placer claim on Elk Creek. Good dredging creek, for more information call 541-523-3285.

FOR SALE: Placer Mining equipment, large trommel, Contact Bert Aylward at 509-337-6744.

FOR SALE: Twenty foot Tandem Axel trailer with a self contained pickup camper. This is set up to haul 3 ATV's or mining gear, a must see. $1,695, or consider trade or offer. Picture available, call: 541-856-3642.

FOR SALE: 2 v 4 Wisconsin 4 inch pumps were running up to two years ago, both for $450. 541-856-3642.

FOR SALE: For sale 4 placer & 1 load claims. All equipment, to include, trommel, classifier, backhoe with bucket and scoop, 5000 watt generator, dump truck, various hoses, pumps, clamps, etc. Water rights to pond, furnished log cabin and storage shed, water tank. Forest Service land. Claims only. Not patented. 541-856-3862 or 541-910-3054. $40,000. Possible terms.