Eastern Oregon Mining Association
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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20151225

DECEMBER 2015 Newsletter
Volume 315

Meetings are held on the first Friday of the month. The next meeting will be Friday, DECEMBER 4TH at the Baker City Hall. The building is located at 1st and Auburn Streets in Baker City. The Board meeting starts at 6:00 PM. The general meeting starts at 6:30 PM.

Everyone is welcome to attend these meetings. There is plenty of time for discussing mining and getting to know other miners. Lots of good discussions on problems miners are having with the agencies. And, every meeting, there is a drawing for a $50 silver medallion!

In August of 2015, we asked the ranger and his minerals staff about leasing one of our claims to another miner. We have also mentioned this to the ranger in a couple of meetings. We wanted to keep the operation and the bond the same as was approved in the plan of operation since it would be a short term lease. We would still be responsible for the reclamation and making sure the mining was done in a responsible manner. We had planned to officially change the operator on the Plan of Operation, so that the minerals staff would know who was on the ground and be able to deal directly with the miner who is working the claim.

The specific question we asked was, “Are there any problems you have with this change of operator? Do you want any other information other than the name, address, and phone number of the miner? Please let us know ASAP if there is something else you need.” Four months have passed and we are still waiting for an answer.

We are trying to keep the Forest Service involved and informed of what is happening on the ground, but it is difficult when we are not able to get a timely answer to our questions.
As most of you know, American Mining Rights Association represents miners who are victims of government harassment, wrongfully cited and other matters when we can (if we have the funds). We represented two miners who were cited for dredging without a permit in 2014 at no cost to them. We hired an attorney for them, formulated the defense and took it to court.
We are pleased to announce that today the case was DISMISSED.

All of this takes money. AMRA operates on donations and we encourage you to book a seat at our fundraiser dinner on December 12th in Oakdale CA. We'll post more on this later, but for today..........we celebrate! Congrats Jim and Ron.......the "criminal" miners.

Look up American Mining Rights Association on facebook or the web for further information.

The information you need to renew your membership is on the last page of this newsletter.
We try to keep our dues low so all miners can afford to be members. The advantages of being an EOMA member include help with Federal and State agencies, keeping miners informed about new State and Federal anti-mining legislation, and keeping miners informed about Federal agencies' Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements that will affect mine operations. EOMA members can help miners with Plans of Operation and Notices, and can help miners prepare letters and comments. It is important that we all work together to help keep our industry alive.

If you have not sent in your proof of labor to BLM, take a moment and do it now. The cost is $10/claim. If you do not submit your proof of labor by December 30, 2015, your claims will be lost.
At the December meeting, a nominating committee will be chosen. The miners on this committee will nominate members for President, Vice-President, Directors, Treasurer, and other positions.

Sens. Udall (D-NM), Heinrich (D-NM) and Bennet (D-CO) have introduced the Hardrock Mining and Exploration Act of 2015. This legislation is nearly identical to Senator Bingaman's Mining Law Reform legislation from 2008-09. It provides for a 2-5% gross royalty on production (current production from an existing mine POO would be exempt); an AML fee (dirt tax); a land use fee equal to 4 times the claim maintenance fee on top of the claim maintenance fee; would allow land management agencies to say no to a mine proposal (mine veto); would require exploration and mining permits; and would decimate security of tenure. AEMA does not expect this legislation to advance in the current congress.

EOMA submitted a Freedom of Information request on October 9, 2015, to the Forest Service in response to the many complaints about Forest Service inaction. Their do-nothing strategy has prevented many miners from working this past season. These miners have almost given up of ever getting their Plans of Operation approved. They have not received written correspondence, and despite doing everything the government asked, they never seem to get approval to mine. The FOIA stated:
“The information I am seeking for EOMA is copies of the Plans of Operation for North Fork Burnt River or other watersheds, amendments to Plans of Operation, NOIs and reclamation bonds that Wade has worked on since June 24, 2015 to the present. EOMA already has copies of the POOs that were included in the NFBR, Granite and other watershed analysis, and my new request is to see if the miner modified the plan from what was analyzed in the corresponding NEPA document, before submitting to the FS, during the period June 24, 2015 to present”.
I submitted the FOIA on October 9, 2015, and when there was no reply to the request, I notified the Forest and they told me they had lost it! Of course, I had a date stamped copy, which I then provided them. Wanda Ballard told me last EOMA meeting that she thought I would never get an answer to the FOIA. Not one thing had been done to fill the request. I clarified what EOMA needed, and after another written request on November 23, 2015, I think they may have begun to work on it.
This is a simple FOIA, but the results will tell miners a lot about what is, or is not, getting done. I will let you know when we get an answer.
Many miners in eastern and southern Oregon continue to face long delays in permitting and other regulatory red tape that stands in the way of their ability to access our mineral resources and help grow our rural economies. A few have even died waiting for permit approvals that took more than 10 years to issue. The people deserve better than that from their federal government.
That’s why I was proud to cosponsor the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015 (H.R. 1937), which passed the House on October 22 with my strong support. This important legislation, introduced by Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV), will reduce frivolous lawsuits and expedite mining permits and reduce red tape, improving our country’s mineral production and creating jobs in our rural communities.
“The Congress declares that it is the continuing policy of the Federal Government in the national interest to foster and encourage private enterprise in the development of economically sound and stable domestic mining . . . (and)… the orderly and economic development of domestic mineral resources” . . . 1970 Mining & Minerals Policy Act
The next Round table will be December 16, 2015, at the Baker County Courthouse at 2:00PM. The Forest Service, BLM, County and EOMA will be present to discuss the issues.

Timeframes for answering correspondence, receipting submission of Plans of Operation (POOs) and Notices of Intent, writing NEPA documents and approving POOs will be discussed. Meeting the regulatory timeframes does not appear to be a big issue on the BLM, but meeting timeframes are a major problem on the National Forest. We also need to get clarification of several new policies so miners know what is expected of them. Making miners bond for and close public roads in order to get approval for a plan of operations is a new controversial policy. Also on the table will be a discussion on how bonding is handled when a miner leases a claim with an approved Plan of Operation to another miner, and what the procedure is for transferring an approved Plan of Operation. Another topic is the moratorium under SB838 and how this State law will affect miners on Federal mining claims.

When Ken and I met with the ranger on October 9, 2015 we discussed the need for written direction from him on how to transfer an existing Plan of Operation, which has been analyzed under a NEPA document, to a new operator. When we met on November 9, 2015, we discussed this need again, and the fact that both the miners and the Forest Service staff need this direction. Ranger Tomac agreed to provide this direction. We also discussed the need for written direction on how bonding is handled when a miner leases a claim with an approved Plan of Operation and bond, to another miner. Ranger Tomac agreed to provide this direction. In addition, on October 9, 2015 Ranger Tomac said he would "consider" giving Wade Krist timeframes for completion of his work. On November 9, 2015 we discussed this again.

EOMA is also requesting a list of the Plans of Operation and amendments that have been approved and NOIs that have been authorized since June 24, 2015. EOMA is also requesting a list of Plans of Operation, amendments, NOIs that Wade was working on September 24, 2015, the day that Haneys were told by Wade that there were Plans of Operation that would be worked on ahead of their Standby Plan of Operation.

Many have requested I notify them when the hearing is scheduled at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the U.S. V. Hage Trespass/Forage Right case for the month-long trial that occurred in the Spring of 2012 in Reno, Nevada. The final published decision was issued May 31, 2013 by the Honorable Robert C. Jones. In his ruling Judge Jones made a series of landmark findings which are extremely important to the western rangeland livestock industry, including findings of a conspiracy to deprive my family of our vested water rights and grazing preferences beginning in the 1970’s. The federal government of course appealed. On December 9th, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has set a hearing regarding the main case, as well as the Court’s contempt of court case brought against the BLM Manager and USFS Ranger for conduct during the pendency of the main case.
The House Natural Resources Committee majority recently introduced a package of
three bills focused on the cleanup of abandoned and legacy mine sites. These bills are
the committee's response to the Animas River spill to address "systematic problems in
mining development and reclamation."

The first bill, the "Locatable Minerals Claim Location and Maintenance Fees Act of
2015" (H.R. 3843), introduced by Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and
Mineral Resources Doug Lamborn (R-CO), would authorize for a 7-year period the
collection of claim location and maintenance fees, establish an Inactive and Abandoned
Non-Coal Mine Land Program and establishes Good Samaritan permit program.

The second bill, the "Energy and Minerals Reclamation Foundation Establishment Act of
2015" (H.R. 3844), introduced by Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), would establish the Energy
and Mineral Reclamation Foundation to facilitate cleanup of abandoned mine lands and
orphaned oil and gas well sites through donations from the general public that can then
be used for grants and contracts for cleanup projects. The third bill, the "Mining Schools Enhancement Act" (H.R. 3734), introduced by Rep. Crescent Hardy (R-NV), would amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to allocate 70 percent of certain science and technology funding to accredited mining schools to enhance and support mining and mineral engineering programs.

Public Lands for the People has recently learned that the state of California has offered to pay $350,000 to a coalition of environmental groups, including the Karuk Tribe and Center for Biological Diversity, to drop a lawsuit over the California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s 2012 suction dredge mining regulations.

The case centers around a flawed study under the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires state and local agencies to identify significant environmental impacts and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible. The court battle, known in mining circles as the CEQA case, involves two separate lawsuits. “The 2012 dredging regulations were based on bad science from a deeply flawed environmental report,” said PLP President Walt Wegner. “The SEIR results were used to prop up the case for far more restrictive suction dredge mining regulations because of pressure from these environmental groups.” The SEIR study claims that suction dredge mining has several “potentially significant impacts” on the environment, even though all previous studies had concluded that dredging causes a “less than significant impact,” Wegner said.

“How does this drastic change in study results happen overnight? The study is bogus and heavily influenced by politics—not science,” said Wegner. “And, now after years of battling the CEQA case, these environmental groups have decided to take the money and run.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is holding a series of public meetings across the west to gather information on a proposal to withdraw lands determined to be crucial to the survival of the greater sage-grouse from location and entry under the 1872 Mining Law, subject to valid existing rights. The BLM is also extending the public comment period on the withdrawal proposal until January 15, 2016 to allow the Secretary of the Interior to collect additional information relevant to the decision on whether to withdraw these areas from the location of new mining claims for up to 20 years. An interactive map of the areas included in the proposed withdrawal is available at www.blm.gov/sagegrouse .

Comments on the proposed withdrawal application or scoping comments on issues to be analyzed in the EIS must be received by January 15, 2016. Please clearly indicate whether comments are in regard to the withdrawal application or scoping comments on the EIS.
Written comments should be sent to the BLM Director, 1849 C Street NW., (WO–200), Washington, DC 20240 or electronically to sagebrush_withdrawals@blm.gov

There will be litigation. American Exploration & Mining (AEMA), after consulting with its attorneys, Mountain States Legal Foundation and its legal team of advisors, have concluded that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that all claims be brought in two cases, one challenging the Great Basin Record of Decision (ROD) (Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah) and one challenging the Rocky Mountain ROD (Colorado, Montana and Wyoming). Our attorneys are drafting the two complaints, and we anticipate they will be filed prior to the end of the year.

On January 2, 2016, the moratorium on suction dredging and mining within 300 feet of ESH waterways will go into effect. The problem that miners will have will not necessarily be with the Forest Service or BLM, these problems will be with state of Oregon.

Oregon Mining Association, a non-profit corporation that promotes mining activities and the mining industry in Oregon, is working with Western Resources Legal Center, which has attorneys and law students working on the case for the upland miners. The case will be filed in State courts. Attorney James Buchal is working on behalf of the suction dredge miners, and his case has already been filed in Federal courts.

OMA is requesting donations to support the upland miners' case. The attorneys are donating their time for this, which is a huge cost savings to Oregon's miners, but there are many expenses that must be paid. If you can, please send a donation to OMA. There is a form with the information you will need, attached to this newsletter.

More information about what this organization is doing to help miners can be found at:

http://oregonmining.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/OregonMiningAssociation

The Miner's Request for Injunction was filed in federal court in Medford and the Millennium Diggers is a plaintiff in the case. Currently, attorney James Buchal is preparing testimony to submit to the court.

There has been some media interest in the case. FoxNews interviewed and printed quotes from a few of us - The journalist hacked mine up to convey ideas that were not mine, but were her own. I was not happy about that, but she did provide some balance in the article. I did an interview with "Gator's Radio Experience" on KYKN out of Keizer. If you would like to listen to it, you can find it at http://www.kykn.com/podcasts/. Look for Nov 2, Hour 1. Skip ahead to the 5 minute mark. I received an interview request by the once Al Gore-owned news outlet, Al Jazeera, Los Angeles office. I invited an email interview, but declined when it became clear that the journalist was beginning from the false premise of "suction dredging harms fish." I decided that we would not be able to receive fair and balanced reporting and told her why the interview was declined. She did not contact me again after that.
If you can help out, checks can be made out to “OREGON MORATORIUM FUND”. Donations can be sent directly to either:

Waldo Mining District James Buchal
P.O. Box 1574 Murphy & Buchal
Cave Junction, OR 97523 3425 SE Yamhill Street, Suite 100
Portland, OR 97214

The Miners Xchange is a completely free service for EOMA members. It is a clearinghouse where EOMA members can sell everything from gold and silver, to mining equipment and properties. Like an \'eBay for miners\', the Miners Xchange will let you list as many items as you like -- along with full descriptions, prices, shipping costs, and upload up to four photos for each. There are no posting fees, renewal fees, or transaction fees. For details, go to the EOMA website at http://www.h2oaccess.com. You need your login ID in order to post items. If you have forgotten your login ID, contact EOMA through the contact button on the website and it will be sent to you.
Eastern Oregon Mining Association now has a FACEBOOK page. For those of you who use Facebook, check it out. There is a step by step photo display of one of our member miners who is building a trommel. Sign in, and come learn, add your suggestions, and get to know other miners.


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.

EOMA medallions are beautiful proof grade one ounce silver medallions with the addition of real gold “nuggets” in the pan. We still have a limited supply of 2015 medallions for all your Christmas present needs! 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 2015 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. The 2016 medallions are ordered and should be here by December 2015. There are also other years available. Be sure to specify what year you want.

(1) Four inch water pump, powered by a 2cycle Wisconsin Engine, $300.
(2) High Pressure 4 inch pump powered by 30 HP electric motor, $500.
(3) Two sets of 13-20 tire chains for tractor or grader, $100 each. Call 541-523-2521.

Bob and I are no longer able to mine, but this is a great opportunity for someone younger than us to mine on LDMA properties, meet people interested in mining, and at the same time have some fun and get some gold. $2000.00. Also, State Highway classifier with 4 different screens, motor and pump $150. Case tractor with loader and back hoe mounted on 5th wheel trailer.  $7,500. Call 541-526-5998 or gulchgold@yahoo.com

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