Eastern Oregon Mining Association
Eastern Oregon Mining Association
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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20090801

Don't forget to fill out the waiver, and put in next years date at the top of the waiver. Your assessment work and waiver has to be in by August 31st. Good luck.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a final rule today that increases the location fee for mining claims from $30 per claim to $34, and the annual maintenance fee from $125 to $140 per claim.
The BLM is promulgating this rule to make statutorily authorized adjustments to its location and maintenance fees for un-patented mining claims, mill sites, and tunnel sites. This rule implements 30 U.S.C. 28j(c), which authorizes adjustments to the location and annual maintenance fees 'to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor every 5 years after August 10, 1993,or more frequently if the Secretary determines an adjustment to be reasonable.' The BLM's last adjusted the location and maintenance fees in 2004. Mining claimants must pay the new location fee for any mining claim or site located after today, June 29, 2009. Mining claimants must pay the new maintenance fee to maintain mining claims and sites starting from the 2010maintenance year. These fees are due on or before September 1, 2009. Those of you who have already submitted maintenance fees for the 2010 maintenance year will be given an opportunity to pay the additional amount without penalty upon notice from BLM.
The set up on Thursday was as usual a Chinese Fire Drill. We forget from one year to the other which pole goes where with what connector. But we got it, about two hours later we had the biggest part of it set up. I would like to thank all the people that helped make this a success that it was, without you we couldn't put on all the things we do during Jubilee. A special thanks to Arnie Widman, Jeff Young and Ashgrove Cement for all that you done to make this years Miner Jubilee a success.
The panning for the kids is always a big attraction, the kids swarm the panning tubs gleaning all the gold out of them, and then their parents took over. When Jeff Young fired up his rock drill, demonstrating how to drill holes in the large rock Jeff brought in from Ash Grove. People gathered around with their hands over their ears fascinated by the process of that part of mining. Jeff Young put on a demonstration of hand steeling, Jeff banged on the steel with a four pound hammer for five minuets.
They measured the hole Jeff put into the rock, it was a whopping seven inches deep. Thanks Jeff Young and Arnie Widman for bringing the drilling rock from Ashgrove Cement. Also a special thanks to Ashgrove for supplying the drilling rock. The silent auction was also a big attraction and we did well in building up our bank balance for another year. As usual Ken Anderson sold our silver medallions and explained to people the function of each of the minerals in his mineral collection. Also thanks to all of you that stood for hours in the booth and sold tickets and other memorabilia. Again thanks to all who supported us with your time and money.
Dan Titus, from La Grande, Oregon won the 440 Husqvarna Chain Saw, donated by Vern's Saw Shop, here in Baker City. Larry Van Seoy, of Baker City, won a Gold Magic Spiral Panner, Donated by Ed and Jackie Bechtel of Elk Creek Treasures.
1- Thomas Doyle....Wicklow, Ireland
2- Zachary Hamson...Serling Hts, MI
3- Carsyn Roberts,.....Union, Oregon
1- Jorden Roberts....Union, OR
2- Owen Vandehey....Boring, OR
3- Paul Vandehey....Baker City, OR
1- Fred Quimby......Baker City, OR
2- Ed Hardt.......Baker City, OR
3- Colton Steel.......Baker City, OR
1- Allen Hardt......Death Valley, NV
2- Fred Quimby......Baker City, OR
3- Wayne Hiatt......Pilot Rock, OR
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee recently, 'In my view, our own security depends on maintaining a viable domestic mining industry,' In addition, Salazar stated, 'Minerals are also needed to support development of renewable energy,' Seems like the Secretary has read and understands the National Minerals Policy Act of 1970, a law that requires Federal agencies to facilitate the orderly development of the minerals industry. We are looking forward to the time the Baker BLM office will begin conducting their minerals work according to the Secretary's direction.
The Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970 declares that it is the continuing policy of the Federal Government to foster and encourage private enterprise in the development of a stable domestic minerals industry and the orderly and economic development of domestic mineral resources. This act includes all minerals, including sand and gravel, geothermal, coal, and oil and gas.
Ashgrove Cement is the largest non government employer in Baker County. They have consistently worked to reduce emissions of mercury, which is naturally occurring in the raw materials the company mines. Ashgrove has worked with the State of Oregon to reduce mercury emissions, establishing a goal of a reduction of 85% of mercury emissions, as required by current EPA regulations.
EPA now has a proposed rule that will set a new mercury limit of 43 pounds per million tons of clinker. This level of emission is not obtainable at Ashgrove's facility, because of the type of ore Ashgrove mines. The 43 pounds per million tons of clinker proposed rule was based on eleven cement plants with very low levels of mercury in their ore. EPA needs to create a subcategory in their proposed rule to address the variations of naturally occurring mercury found in limestone deposits in the western states, such as we see at Ashgrove. Ashgrove has agreed to continue using the maximum achievable control technology to reduce mercury emissions, and to limit the amount of offsite material brought to the site that has high levels of mercury. These actions will protect the environment.
It is a fact, that the technology used at Ashgrove is the best known method of removing mercury. In addition, by utilizing this technology, plant emissions can and will meet the intent of the clean air act. Ashgrove cannot do better than this, and EPA should not be requiring the impossible.
Write EPA at Docket Center (6102T), National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from Portland Cement. Docket ID No EPA-HQ-OAR-2002-0051, and then fax your comments to #202-566-9744. Tell EPA (1) Ashgrove must not be held to the 43 pounds of mercury per million tons of clinker standard when the technology does not exist to reach this standard, (2) an 85% reduction can and will be achieved, and (3) we need our cement plants operating inside the USA, providing cement for the nation and local jobs to support our communities.
Jim Billings of the Department of Environmental Quality informed Jan Alexander that DEQ does not issue permits above the ordinary high water mark. Jim stated that DEQ had worked with the Forest Service on this issue, and there is no need for miners to apply for 401 permitting, since there are no permits available.
The Forest Service keeps stalling the SEIS and approval of the 49 plans of operation because they are afraid the environmentalists will try to sue them again. The fact is, the judge who ordered all operations be shut down, didn't know what he was talking about when he said the miners needed 401 permits. In fact, DEQ says no permitting is needed.
Jim Billings stated that the Forest Service should manage the land, and work with the miners to help design mining operations that won't discharge. Jim stated that if an operation is poorly designed, and soil does enter the stream, the miner can be cited, but no matter what, the miner cannot obtain a permit for his discharge.
The Forest Service simply needs to do its job. If the Forest Service determines there is a risk of discharge, they should work with the miners to mitigate this risk. Miners can easily create berms from tailings, use woody debris or straw bales, or lay filter fabric to minimize the risk. Once these mitigations are agreed to, the Forest Service should approve all 49 Plans of Operation. These miners have been shut down for much too long.
Time is getting short to comment on this onerous plan. There is no real science behind the road closure alternatives. Forest Supervisor Ellis simply wants to make the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest a wilderness, with no access for anyone.As usual, the Forest Service has not used good science to back their alternatives. The EIS makes a big deal about how big game animals are adversely affected by vehicles and roads. You have only to look at the hay fields in this valley, where there are lots of county roads and farm access roads. Fawns are born within sight of these roads. Farmers and ranchers must constantly move elk and deer out of the fields using ATVs and pick-ups, and as soon as the people are gone, the animals return.
The big horn sheep in the Burnt River canyon stand around in the road and it is difficult to drive through the herd some days. The sheep spend a lot of time grazing on the lawn where the Lost Dutchman miners conduct their mining operations. Studies in Yellowstone have shown that big game animals coexist just fine with traffic, they only become alarmed when people get out of their rigs. But the EIS makes it sound like the animals cannot coexist with roads and vehicles.
The EIS is full of these types of inaccuracies, but unless you are a biologist or a Harvard professor, your comments about these inaccuracies will not be taken as 'substantive'. However, there is one substantive comment you can make, and that is that the Travel Management Plan EIS action alternatives are not legal.
The reason for this is that the Travel management plan is supposed to be a non significant amendment to the 1990 Forest Plan. This is not true. The Travel Management Plan is a SIGNIFICANT amendment, and as such, it is illegal.
Write Supervisor Ellis and tell him the only alternative he can legally select is the No Action Alternative, Alternative #1. Ellis has publicly stated that he has already decided not to consider this alternative. Again, this is illegal. NEPA requires him to consider the No Action Alternative. Only those who comment are eligible to appeal. Send your comments to Supervisor Steve Ellis, U.S. Forest Service, P.O. Box 907, Baker City, OR 97814.
Ranger Anderson closed Pete Gass's access road into the William H claims this spring with three very deep tank traps. Pete came over from his home on the West side to spend the week and conduct his assessment work, and found he could not get into his mining claims. He has talked to the ranger, and the ranger's staff, but still the road system remains closed.
Pete was told that he did not have the right to use a vehicle to access his claims. One Forest Service employee told Pete he could just walk in. Pete has a heart condition, and like many of us, Pete cannot walk a mile and a half carrying his picks, shovels sluice boxes, pumps, motors, gold pans, 5 gallon buckets and other materials needed to conduct the work. Even if he could get across the tank traps in an ATV, Pete doesn't own an ATV. When the ranger heard this, he suggested that Pete could rent one, and he would have a backhoe come out to the site to 'soften' (not open up) the tank traps so an ATV could get across.
What part about a statutory right to access doesn't the Forest Service understand? The 36CFR228 regulations state that a miner can use open roads to access his claims. Last year this was an open road system. Without notice to Pete, it became a closed road system. The Forest Service seems to have forgotten that minerals are private property.
This could happen to any of us. If the ranger decides we don't need to use a vehicle to access our claims, he will simply close our roads. EOMA will go to bat for Pete and for any other miners where the government tries to take away their right to access.
Oregon Department of Water Resources wants miners to be aware that water rights are necessary if you take water from a stream. You do not need a water right if you run a suction dredge or even if you shovel into a sluicebox in the stream. It is only when you remove the water from the stream that a water right comes into play.
Most miners in this area have utilized groundwater for mining. Oregon water law contains an exemption so that miners can use 5,000 gallons a day of groundwater for processing. Old dredge tailings ponds and even water in test holes can be a source of groundwater for processing. When this water is recycled, there is enough water to support a small scale mining operation.
There is also a surface water right that can be applied for. This is called a Limited Water Use License. The cost is $150.00 for five years of water use. The risk with one of these temporary water rights, is if someone else has an earlier priority water right, you could be shut down when water is short, and your use conflicts with their use.
The Wallowa-Whitman EIS which proposes to close most of the open roads in the Forest is out. The proposal is not just unfair, making access within the National Forests unavailable to the old, the young and the disabled, who cannot hike the closed roads, and making it more difficult to cut wood, prospect for minerals, administer range allotments, recreate, camp, hunt or retrieve game, but it is also illegal.
The Forest Supervisor would like you to believe that this total closure of the National Forest is a 'non-significant' amendment to the 1990 access friendly Wallowa-Whitman Forest Plan. But this is not true. Each of the action alternatives in the EIS represents a 'significant amendment' to the Forest Plan. A significant amendment as defined by the Forest Service manual under 1926.52, 2. equates to 'Changes that may have an important effect on the entire land management plan or affect land and resources throughout a large portion of the planning area during the planning period'.
We believe that this EIS decision will drastically affect the land management plan and affect the land resources. 1.3 million acres of NF land and resources are involved in this amendment. One million acres have already been closed off from previous decisions, such as wilderness, city watersheds, and the previous decisions to close off Bald Angel and the Southfork of the Burnt River areas. The lands left to be closed, still make up a 'large portion of the planning area'.
Write Supervisor Ellis at P.O. Box 907, Baker City, OR 97814 and tell him his road closure plan is illegal, since it is not a non-significant amendment to the 1990 Wallowa-Whitman Forest Plan. Tell him he has the cart before the horse. First he must rewrite the 1990 Forest Plan. Only after years of public involvement in this revision process, can he legally propose a Plan to close the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest to access.
County commissioners need to rein in the out-of-control governmental agencies intent upon ruining rural America. County commissioners have the power to do this through a process called coordination. Every citizen must let their commissioners know that they want the counties to take control away from the Federal agencies.
In Baker County, the Resource Advisory Council is writing their own Resource Plan on how to manage the Federal lands within the county. Every county should be doing this. The counties can require the Forest Service and BLM to come to their table, and to modify Federal Plans to meet the intent of the counties' Plans. The Federal agencies must protect the economy, custom and culture of each county, throughout the United States.
Attached are the draft Baker County Goals and Objectives for mineral and energy resources. EOMA invites all miners to take a look at these goals and objectives. If you think these should be changed, please let me know. If you mine in another county and want your commissioners to take on the Federal government, you will need to write a resource plan of your own.
Mining is an important industry in Baker County. The Forest Service and BLM think nothing of violating the National Minerals Policy Act, when it suits their needs. Neither agency is processing mining Plans of Operation in a timely manner. Approval of these operations would put county citizens to work in family wage jobs. The Counties need to take the agencies to task when Federal actions harm the local economy and destroy the custom and culture of the counties' citizens.
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
The EOMA has always worked with the community and schools to further education in minerals. EOMA members Ken Anderson and Chuck Chase will be conducting courses this spring at the Blue Mountain Community College. The courses are entitled 'Introductory Gold Prospecting'. The will be held in the evenings so it will be easier for people to attend. Our last class will be the Saturday the 24th before the meeting and will be a field trip up on Elk Creek to visit Sharlene Cole, Beverley Chadwick and Ed Bechtel's mine. They even learned first hand how to run a rocker box, and found out that gold don't come easy. The class will also be taught how to read the geology of the terrain to locate favorable places for gold to deposit. It should be a interesting field trip led by Ken Anderson.
With the help of the Eastern Oregon Miners and Prospectors we are rounding out the courses with Field Trips. If anyone is interested in participating contact Blue Mountain Community College to find out when the next scheduled classes are..BONDING RAISES TO THIRTY ($30) DOLLARSThe Board of Directors looked at the increased liability 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 $3,000 or higher bond the annual fee will be $30. For the first time miners applying for a $3,000 bond the fee is 10% of the bond one time fee, or $300 dollars for a $3,000 bond. There after it will be a annual fee of $30 per year. Your dues need to be current for the year you are bonding for. Your Bond and Dues Are Due At The Same Time.
The 2009's are here and will be here and will be at the July meeting. We have sold out of all the 2008 Silver Medallions. But.......Our 2009's in and they are just as pretty as the 2008's. Let us know if you want one of these limited edition medallions. The Board of Directors has set a price on them of $27.50 plus one dollar shipping. Get your order in now, we just have a few left of the 2009's.
Mail your check or money order to: EOMA, Medallion, PO Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814. The 2009's sell for $27.50 plus one dollar shipping. Don't wait too much longer, it's the real deal with silver going up and up, by next year these could be cheap.
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.
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.
OREGON LEGAL FUND DONATIONS....THANK YOUThank you for your donations, please specify which Legal Fund you want your donation placed. We would like to thankJoe Mann and the Show Me Gold Prospectors, Steve Stebbins for their most generous support and donations every month. 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 mining.
Thank you for your donations, please specify which Legal Fund you want your donation placed. A big thanks to all for your support and most generous donations 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.