Eastern Oregon Mining Association
Eastern Oregon Mining Association
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EOMA NEWSLETTER, JANUARY 2010

- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20100101

EPA WATER REGULATORY WATCH By Tom Quintel
A group of 28 Republican lawmakers from Western states this month told House and Senate leadership that they 'strongly object' to any efforts to move a controversial bill that would amend the Clean Water Act (CWA) and grant the Environmental Protection Agency massive new regulatory powers. Signing the letter were 11 senators and 17 members of the House of Representatives.
'We strongly object to any attempt to move this legislation as a standalone bill or as an attachment to a bill, in the Senate or House of Representatives,' the lawmakers said in a Dec. 8 letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). 'More specifically, we cannot imagine any bill so important that we could support it with the Clean Water Restoration Act attached.' The bill (S. 787) would remove the term 'navigable waters' from the CWA and replace it with 'waters of the United States.'
'The concern we hear back home is that this legislation would grant the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers virtually unlimited regulatory control over all wet areas within a state,' the letter said. 'This bill attempts to trump state's rights and pre-empts state and local governments from making local land and water use decisions,' the lawmakers wrote.
GUY MICHAEL LEGAL FUND
Up date, the on going BLMís confiscating Guy Michaelís equipment from his mining claim has been taken to a new level. Fred Kelly Grant, prominent lawyer and head of Stewards of the Range has taken up the cause. Recently Fred recommend that Guy file a violation of his Civil Rights against BLM. Therefore federal agencies are subject to the laws in each State concerning property. ORS 517.080, which describes an un-patented mining claim as real estate. Lack of due process is a violation of civil rights and in part are based on the laws of the State of Oregon concerning real property laws.
Anybody wanting to contribute to help defend Guyís private property rights, please send to: EOMA, Guy Michael, Legal Fund, PO Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814.
We are currently running three legal funds. The Guy Michaelís Legal Fund, defending Guy from confiscation of his equipment and a violation of his civil rights. Our Oregon Miners Legal fund, which covers the expense of our on going litigation with DEQ over dredging in Oregon. Our EOMA Legal fund that was put together to protect Jan Alexander from attacks by BLM and DOGAMI suing her personally for helping miners.
When you contribute, please designate which legal fund to put it in. If you donít designate which fund, we will put it where the fire is the hottest.
We would like to thank everybody that has donated to these legal funds, your names are to numerous to mention. The one that does stand out is Joe Mann from Kansas City. Joe donates each month to our legal fund. I and the Mining Association would like to thank you and the Show Me Gold mining club back in Kansas and Missouri for all your support you have shown thru the years. Thanks Joe........
EOMA CONTINUES TO WORK FOR MINERS By Jan Alexander
Since 1980, EOMA has represented and advocated for the small scale mining industry. EOMA works within the following objectives:
(1) To promote the concept of multiple use of all public lands. Mining is an important use of public lands, but not the only use of public lands. Other uses must not materially interfere (Public Law 167) with our development of mineral resources, however, ranching, logging, wood cutting, hunting and all types of recreation are also important. EOMA works to band together with all resource users in our efforts to keep the public lands open for mining.
(2) To oppose any further wilderness additions or other types of land withdrawal that denies multiple use of the public lands. Whenever the talk of new wilderness designations rears its ugly heads, Board members get on the phone, send out informational e-mails, write letters to Congressmen and women. Half of Oregon is Federal land, which must remain open for multiple uses.
(3) To promote the return to a multiple use concept of all public domain lands that have been designated wilderness, Rare-2 or roadless area since 1975. This is a tough one to accomplish. Itís been hard enough to keep what we have. But EOMA continues to advocate for multiple use of all public lands.
(4) To uphold the 1872 Mining Law in its entirety. Miners are the only public land users who have a statutory right to enter the public lands and to develop the mineral resources. Land managing agencies do not have the discretion to work on a ďnice to doĒ project ahead of a mining project. EOMA works closely with the Forest Service and BLM, many times involving our Congressmen when we need to get the Governmentís attention. BLM and Forest Service are encouraged to approve Mining Plans of Operation and Notices. This is a never ending battle, and represents one of the most time consuming activities that EOMA engages in.
(5) To oppose any and all persons and organizations that advocate the withdrawal of any public domain from economically productive purposes. This includes land without mineral resources. We need our public lands open to all resource users.
(6) To promote the need for mineral resources development. EOMA believes that education is one of the best ways to promote the mining industry. We use the newsletter, we talk to other miners and the general public at Miners Jubilee and we conduct many educational programs with miners as well as with schools and local 4-H groups.
(7) To promote the concept of natural resources development on the public domain, while maintaining a sound environment. EOMA advocates environmentally sound mining practices, and many EOMA members have received awards for their reclamation efforts, when they went above and beyond what the regulations require. EOMA has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Forest Service, whereby our members can bond through EOMA, rather than putting up cash bonds with the government. This leaves miners with more money to put into their operations. Miners are constantly being watched by the public, and because of this scrutiny, we must strive to protect the environment in all things we do. Sure you have to dig a hole to get to the minerals, but when mining is through, often the land can be left even better than it was before mining began.
(8) To develop a voice in the decision making levels of government as pertains to land use policy. EOMA members are currently working with Baker County to develop a Natural Resource Plan which will allow the county to have a say in how the public lands in the county are managed. Several EOMA members meet monthly with members of other resource groups to complete this Plan.
(9) To oppose the unnecessary regulation of mining and the mineral industries. EOMA works to help fellow miners understand what is in the Forest Service, BLM, MSHA and DEQ regulations as they pertain to mining. If miners donít know the regulations, they canít make it if they are mining on public lands. This is another area where EOMA members spend countless hours reading the laws and regulations, researching court cases and talking with attorneys. Many times EOMA has helped to educate the government on what their own regulations say. Knowledge is power.
(10) To promote the free enterprise system. EOMA strongly supports free enterprise. Mining is a statutory right, and nowhere else in this country can a person go out onto the public lands, find a discovery, claim the minerals as private property, then develop or sell that property.
(11) To promote the development of markets for locally produced mineral commodities. At the price of gold today, there is a huge market for our locally produced gold. EOMA members also work to promote markets for building stone and other local minerals.
(12) To promote the concept of production of all mineral commodities. Miners of locatable minerals have an advantage on public lands because they have a private property right in their minerals, which the government must respect. Miners of sand and gravel and other non locatable minerals have a much tougher time getting their mining operations approved. EOMA believes that all types of mining are important and supports use of the resources.
(13) To promote public understanding and acceptance of the mining industry as essential to a high standard of living and quality of life. Sometimes it is said that miners are their own worst enemies, because they donít promote their industry. Miners need to show the public that our industry is worthwhile in terms of jobs and economic impact to our communities. Miners are closely scrutinized by the public these days, and this is an opportunity to show the public that miners are stewards of the land, even while extracting the mineral resources. Miners Jubilee provides an opportunity for EOMA members to talk to the public about the importance of mining and much time and effort goes into this event.
I urge every miner to get involved. Chose one or more of the above objectives, and work to promote our industry!
SHAME ON THE MALHEUR NATIONAL FOREST By Jan Alexander
Twila Combs simply could not come up with the money this year to pay her Special Use Permit fee on her cabin at Bates, after the Malheur Forest raised her fees from $100 to $1,000. Consequently, her cabin, where she raised her family and lived for so many years, was burned to the ground last week. The Forest Service got what they wanted, which was to get rid of the cabin. They did not care about an old lady, and her life at Bates. A lot of history was lost in those flames.
Betty Morris, who has the only remaining cabin at Bates, did finally manage to come up with enough money to pay her cabin fees. She saved a little money back from her social security check every month, baby sat and walked to the store instead of driving her car. Even though it was a hardship on her, keeping the cabin was more important. She just couldnít bear to see the cabin destroyed. Betty has so many wonderful memories of life at Bates and all the years she lived in the cabin. She goes to her cabin every time she has someone who will take her, and every moment there is precious to her.
The Forest Service has worked hard to rid the Malheur Forest of these two elderly ladies and their cabins that they consider to be blights on the land. One lady down, and one to go. Shame on the Malheur National Forest.
MINING GETS RECOGNITION IN NEWSPAPERS By Chuck Chase
Lately the spurred interest in mining and because of the soaring gold prices, the glint of gold has attracted the news reporters from across Oregon. Several lengthily articles in the local Democrat Herald has spotlighted gold mining and the history of mining in Oregon. Members of our Mining Association have been contacted to contribute to these articles. Even the Oregonian contacted us to contribute to a story they were putting together on gold mining in Oregon. With the bad economy, I guess gold has increased in its luster. Even news papers that usually only print negative stories about mining are starting to see just how shiny gold really is.