Eastern Oregon Mining Association
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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20140214

FEBRUARY 2014 Newsletter
Volume 293

The meetings are held on the first Friday of the month. The next meeting is Friday, FEBRUARY 7TH at the Baker City Hall. The building is located at 1st and Auburn Streets in Baker City. The Board meeting starts at 6:00PM, and the general meeting starts at 6:30PM.

Membership payments must be clearly identified in order for us to give you proper credit for paying. The information you need is on the last page of this newsletter.
Please send in your dues, medallion, and past years \collector\ calendar payments in separate checks. It really makes a bookkeeping nightmare when you don’t...Bobbie and Chuck thank you.

Enclosed with this newsletter is your absentee ballot for the nominees for both the Executive Officers and the Board of Directors. For those that can’t make the March meeting in person, fill out the Absentee Election Ballot and send it in before the March meeting. For your ballot to be counted, you need to have your dues paid and have signed the ballot. If you have a dual membership, both of you need to sign the ballot and both of you need to mark the ballot.

NFBR miners, who signed stipulations and posted bonds, still have no plan approval letters 5 months after the judge lifted his order against the FS. There are many other mining plans waiting for approval in other watersheds. For example, there are 30 small mining operations in the Granite watershed waiting years for Forest Service approval of their plans. Typically, each mine project will disturb and reclaim an area of approximately 1-2 acres annually. This means about 30-60 acres out of 94,479 acres in the watershed would be disturbed and reclaimed each year. Meanwhile, the Forest Service is going to approve many other projects next year, such as the Sandbox Vegetation Management project. This project burns thousands of acres, logs thousands of acres, builds and opens miles of road, and yet they say that this is not a significant impact. It is not difficult to see why miners are frustrated with the lack of progress in approving their plans.

There is a bill in Congress right now, H.R. 761, which attempts to speed up and simplify the process of mining on Public Lands.  This bill, as you would expect, is opposed by numerous members of Congress, including Representative Peter Defazio.  Before Defazio, and those like him, vote no on this bill, there are a few things they should consider. (This Bill did pass the House and DeFazio did vote against it. It is now awaiting a vote in the Senate.-Editor)

First of all, the Mining Law of 1872 was not passed to enrich the Federal Government.  It was passed so that the average American citizen could go out on “the people’s” Public Lands and prospect for valuable minerals.  If these citizens were successful in their efforts, they could then start a small business and try to complete their American Dream.  The Federal Government knew that people who were successful would hire employees, buy more goods, pay more taxes and generate economic activity.  These people could basically start with very little, and develop valuable mineral deposits and contribute to the economic well-being of the Country. The Federal Government would make money thru increased tax revenue and increased economic activity. This was probably the first real legislative effort by Congress to \spread the wealth\.  This would all still be possible today if it were not for the constant harassment of miners and mining by Bureaucracies and radical environmental groups suing the Federal Government.  At a time when our Nation desperately needs jobs, it would seem obvious that providing opportunities for small business people to create economic activity without costing taxpayer investment would be an attractive course of action. Contact Senator Wyden (541-962-7691) and Merkley (503-326-3386) and ask them what they are doing to help get this bill passed.

The forest plan revision is seriously underway. As many of you know, one reason the Travel Management Plan failed was because it did not tier to the 1990 Forest Plan. The Forest Service is making a new effort to get their Blue Mountain Plan revision finalized. It is not forest user friendly. It is full of examples of changing the plan to ignore the historical multiple use concept of the present forest plan. For instance, the new plan states, \The primary designated beneficial use of water on National Forest System lands in the Blue Mountains is for cold-water fish habitat.\ Forest Plan Revision, Proposed Action Plan, pg 37 1.11 Water Quality, para. 3. You need to educate yourself and comment about how you would like to be able to visit a user friendly forest. Go to the Forest Service site and click on Blue Mountain Forest Plan. http://www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman/

All miners in the North Fork Burnt River watershed will be required to sign a set of stipulations and post bond before they begin work. One of the requirements is a spill kit capable of absorbing 40 gallons of petroleum or antifreeze products. Look for heavy weight, universal, absorbent laminated pads. We paid $90 for ours, you may find a better deal. You supply the large plastic garbage can for disposal of used pads. Just like you do for all containers on site, be sure to label the garbage can \used absorbent pads\.

Sediment barriers between your ponds/mining area and any waterway are also required. This can be existing rock tailings, a berm you create of washed rock, or staked straw bales. By using an existing sediment barrier, or creating your own, you will be in compliance.

On January 23, I was asked to sit in on a meeting between Dave Mc Quisten, Forest Access For All (FAFA) representative and Wallowa Whitman Forest (WWNF) Supervisor, John Laurence. We met with the Forest Supervisor on the second floor of the Federal Building around 9:00 am. The discussion at the meeting was the up-coming Draft Blue Mountain Forest Plan. The Supervisor said that the draft 2012 version used the 1982 Forest Plan Planning Guide to draft the new plan. I asked him if the 2012 draft was tiered to the 1982 plan. No, they were just using the “82” Planning Guide. He said the Draft would probably be out from the printers by early March of this year for review. When queried about how big the draft would be, he replied about 1200 pages long and we would have 90 days to comment on the draft. I said 90 day review was not near enough, he said we would probably get an extension on top of the 90 days. He made it very clear that any appeal process would be tied to written comment on specific issues. It had to be more than “I just don’t like the plan” to be accepted as a valid comment and give you appeal rights.

He said as soon as the draft was out, they would have scoping meetings to discuss the plan. There will be maps showing all the roads. The roads that they have on the maps will be in three colors, “red, yellow, and green”, open, closed, and questionable. I am not sure of the order of what road goes with what color. We then questioned Mr. Laurence, as to whether the maps listed all of the roads. He stated that road status would be the main topic at the scoping meetings; so people could add roads, if needed, to the maps. I asked him if the roads weren’t on the final map, despite public input, then what? He said then he guessed the road would not exist.

We asked Mr. Laurence about working with the counties, and if the WWNF was going to coordinate with them. He give me a kind of funny look, and then asked me what coordination meant. I told him it was part of the NEPA process. He then went on to say that the WWNF was cooperating with the counties.

It was brought up that people were concerned about road closures associated with timber sales. I told him one main concern of Baker County citizens was that when the timber sales hauled over pre-existing roads, the loggers were required to close those roads after the sale. Mr. Laurence replied with a long speech that reminded me of a politician explaining how nothing that happened in Congress was his fault. It left me scratching my head asking myself, what did he just say? What I think I understood him to say was that you need to comment on every timber sale about specific roads that should not be closed. I am not sure just what public input is involved in the scoping/comment process or how much impact the people and the county would have, but I guess we have to give it a try.

It will be in 2015 before they start the final draft of the Blue Mountain Revision Plan. As soon as that is finalized, then the Travel Management Plan will follow. Right now, the TMP has no deadline, but will go on no matter how long it takes.

“The timber, water, pastures, mineral and other resources of the forest reserves are for the use of the people; they may be obtained under reasonable conditions, without delay; legitimate improvements and business enterprises will be encouraged. Forest reserves are open to all persons for all lawful purposes.”
Quote from The Use of the National Forest Reserves (1905 Use Book).

This Sage Grouse meetings were held in several population centers in the Eastern Oregon. The last meeting that I attended was in Durkee. Ranchers and miners from all over, including a impressive number of politicians, gathered into the old school building gym that has been converted into a community hall. The Vale District, including BLM from the Baker District, and one lonely US Fish and Wildlife representative, took questions from the audience of about 100 people. It got to be more of a statement night than a question and answer session that the BLM had hoped for. This meeting was the most contentious of all of the Sage Grouse meetings I’ve attended.

Rancher after rancher, and miner after miner got up and told the BLM in no uncertain terms that they thought that they were the target of environmentalists trying to take over the Western United States. I think BLM got the idea that none of the attendees was happy. Miner Brian Bolen really got upset when the BLM informed him that they intended to withdrawal 10,000 acres of BLM from mineral entry. Terry Drever Gee asked them just how they planned to pay for all of the validity exams and the rest of the mitigations they planned to implement. The BLM believes that Congress is going to kick in all the needed revenue to do all these mitigation projects Terry said \follow the money trail and you will find out who is pushing this listing\.

When I was at the Reno NWMA Mining Convention, I attended a seminar on the Sage Grouse with Bobbie and Dr. Thom Seal. NWMA had a speaker, Megan Maxwell, who had written a white paper for Northwest Mining Association concerning the peer review of the BLM listing and peer review of USF&W. She exposed these agencies voodoo science on grouse habitat and on what affects the grouse.

According to Maxwell. the main things affecting the decline of the Greater Sage Grouse are Fire, Predators, and West Nile Virus. I brought that up in Durkee, and the BLM said that they didn’t have anything to do with predators or the control of them. I brought up West Nile Virus and they just looked at me and went on to another subject. I finally said that I had copies of the Megan Kelly White Paper at Tec Copier in Baker City, where anyone interested can request a copy. I told them it was a peer review of the BLM and USF&W bad science and skipping procedure in the NTT Report. This paper shows clearly that BLM wrote the EIS to justify decisions that already had been made. For any of you that want a copy of Northwest Mining Association’s Megan Maxwell’s Sage Grouse White Paper or the Baker County Natural Resource Plan, Tech Copier has both documents. You just pay for the copying which is just a few bucks.

BLM did say that they had contractors do all or most of their work on the Sage Grouse. And in turn, the contractors hired sub-contractors to put together the Draft Sage Grouse Environmental Impact Statement. BLM stated that the Draft EIS was the same in Oregon as it is in the rest of the affected states. This, of course, is not true at all. For instance, Wyoming works with a disturbance cap of 4% of priority habitat, while Oregon decided to use a more stringent 3%. All states have a similar comment period on their EIS.

The one big statement coming from everybody in the audience was that they were sick and tired of the Federal Government coming in and pushing people around, and dictating to them what they can or can’t do. People talked about the agencies starving them off of the land they have been on for over a 100 years. I was really surprised there wasn’t any uniformed officers there, it wouldn’t have taken much to set that powder keg off.

We all need to flood BLM with written comments concerning this onerous Plan. We also need to call our Congressmen and women and tell them we need more time to make comments. BLM doesnt even have copies of the three volume document available for the public to review. Representative Walden has already made this request, other legislators must also do this in order for BLM to agree to extend the comment period. BLM has already said they will not be granting an extension, however, a few Congressmen/women can change that attitude. When BLM, along with ODF&W, start implementing the Sage Grouse mitigations, I am not too sure I would want to be the one that tells the ranchers or the miners to get off the land, or the one to bring out armed BLM officers to enforce it.

EOMA member Stan Baker contacted me concerning the need for DSL permits in Baker County. He said he had spoken to Anita Huffman of DSL, and she told him the revised map on their website excludes all of Baker County from essential salmon habitat, and the need for a DSL permit. I then called Anita to verify this information. We discussed the fact that there are bull trout streams in Baker County. She talked to the State attorneys, then called me back.
It turns out, that DSL only has authority over streams with salmon and steelhead. ODFW is currently doing a map layer of the bull trout streams, but right now these streams are not permitted by DSL, only DEQ. All miners who dredge in 2014 are subject to the hours of operation, no dredges left unattended, and 500 feet between dredges. Anita said that they have received fewer than 850 applications so far. Any miners who already applied for a DSL permit in a stream that is not on the map as ESH, will be told they do not need a permit.

Remember, if you plan to dredge in a waterway that has salmon or steelhead, be sure to apply for a DSL permit, along with your DEQ permit. According to several miners, it only takes a few minutes and the DSL form does not ask if you have a claim. The deadline is February 28, 2014. Applications received after this date will be approved on a first come first served basis.

The Eastern Oregon Mining Association, along with the Waldo Mining District, is selling tickets for the drawing on a ½ pound of gold. The big Final Drawing with a Grand Prize of 1/2 Pound of Gold will be held at the Miners Jubilee in Baker City, July 20, 2014. Additional prizes will be awarded at the final Drawing. The cost is $5.00 per Entry, or Six Entries for $25.00. You do not need to be present to win! So, fill out the tickets in the back of the newsletter and send them in to Drawing, PO Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814. Your money goes to help miners continue litigation on miner’s rights. Thank you for all your support..... Chuck Chase

2014 Medallions are here for the New Year –ORDER ONE NOW!
EOMA medallions are beautiful proof grade one ounce silver medallions with the addition of real gold “nuggets” in the pan. We have a limited supply of 2012 medallions and 2013 medallions along with the newly minted 2014s. These medallions are currently selling for $50.00 apiece plus $5.00 shipping, handling, and insurance. (Prices are subject to change). You can order a medallion from the EOMA website, and pay by pay-pal. Or, you can send $50 plus $5.00 shipping and handling to EOMA, Medallions, PO Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814, or call Bobbie at 541-523-3285. Be sure to specify what year you want.

The advertising listings are only $1 per month to get your ad listed below. Send your ad to: EOMA, Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814 along with your remittance for each month you want us to run your ad. The number next to your ad is how many months your ad will run.

A set of EOMA one-ounce silver medallions dated 1988 through 2011, plus one “In Gold We Trust 75th Anniversary 1907 – 1982” one ounce silver medallion and one proof coin of the same. The 25-coin set is contained in a hand made solid wood folding display box with spaces for an additional 17 coins. Price, $1,000. Call 541-524-9386 or 541-403-0043.

I am always looking for new sources of quality gold nuggets and specimens.  I market to collectors and can generally pay more than refiners for nice nuggets.  Contact Matt at (208) 867-2594 or e-mail: goldrush@goldrushnuggets.com I travel through Baker City frequently.

Written by a miner for miners, this book covers all aspects of researching mining claim records, how to locate your own claim and keep it. Send check or money order for $32 dollars to: Tom Kitchar, PO Box 1371, Cave Junction, OR 97523.

Forty acre placer claim on Clarks Creek. Hasnt been dredged or mined, has real good potential. Has had a magnetometer survey done on the property and shows a large old river channel that has been buried. Just waiting for the right miner to come along. Ten thousand firm on the asking Price. Call: 541-523-3285 or my Cell: at 541-310-8510.

Eighty acre placer claim on the Burnt River at the mouth of Clarks Creek. Has excellent potential. A large portion hasn’t been dredged. Has buried high bars that has limited work done on them. One high bar that hasn’t been touched. $5,000 firm. Call: 541-523-3285 or my Cell: 541-310-8510.