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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20140611

JUNE 2014 Newsletter
Volume 297

The meetings are held on the first Friday of the month. The next meeting is Friday, June 6 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.

I saw a quote the other day, that stuck in my mind. \The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living\. Here in Eastern Oregon, miners, ranchers, farmers and loggers would like nothing better than to be left alone to work for our livings. It is unfortunate that the Western part of the state, where environmentalists and misinformed citizens are abundant, can outvote us and keep us from using our natural resources. SB838 was passed into law because of a few recreational suction dredgers dredging in the Rogue River near some fancy houses. Not only does this bad piece of legislation put a moratorium on suction dredge mining, the final wording also will shut down upland placer operations.

As most of you know, I am part of the study group looking at mining in Oregon on ESH (essential salmonoid habitat) and bull trout streams. For miners in Eastern Oregon, all of Grant County mine operators would be affected. In Baker County, operators on the Powder River watershed above Phillips Lake reservoir, including Silver, Fruit, Cracker, Little Cracker, Lake and Deer Creek and other streams with bull trout habitat such as Wolf Creek, Anthony Creek, North Powder, and Eagle Creek and its tributaries would be affected.

The sentence in SB838 that states, “removal or disturbance of vegetation in a manner that may impact water quality” leaves all placer miners with operations within 100 yards of the normal high water mark of ESH and bull trout streams, in a grey area, where neither the miners nor law enforcement is really clear about whether or not they would be subject to the moratorium.

I will give my power point that I have prepared for the study group at the EOMA meeting. If you think I need to do more to convince the study group members that responsible placer miners do not impact water quality, this is your opportunity to let me know!
The next NRAC meeting will be on June 3, 2014 at the Baker County Courthouse at 2:00PM. The County is preparing comments on this massive plan. The main resources that will be affected when this plan is implemented are timber and access, but all resources, including mining, grazing, recreation and others will also be affected. The Forest Supervisor keeps repeating that this document does not close roads, however, it sets the stage for closing roads. The new non-motorized backcountry, and new wildernesses will close many thousands of miles of road. In addition, the Plan is to close \hydrologically connected\ roads, and there are over 4,000 miles of these types of roads. You might think these were roads close to streams, but instead, they are roads as far as 300 feet from streams. It’s just crazy.

The public is encouraged to attend these NRAC meetings. We need to submit comments that are representative of Baker Countys citizens.

Baker County NRAC will also be submitting comments on EPAs proposal to take over ownership of all waters of Oregon and the United States. This includes mining ditches, roadside barrow pits that sometimes carry water, settling ponds, and the like. In order to clean a ditch or muck out a settling pond, miners would have to obtain ACOE permit. This is a huge land grab. If EPA controls our water, they control our lives.

Your input on the comments the NRAC will submit are important. In addition, individuals should also submit their own comments stating how this law would adversely affect their lives.

You can stop the EPA and Corps by getting both your Senators and your Congressman to support taking the funding away from the EPA and Corps for their proposed new Clean Water Act regulations. In addition, make written comments on this terrible proposal. Submit comments on or before July 21, 2014. Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OW–2011–0880 by one of the following methods:
(1) Email: ow-docket@epa.gov. Include EPA–HQ–OW–2011–0880 in the subject line of the message. (2) Mail: Send the original and three copies of your comments to: Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 2822T, 1200, Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460, Attention: Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OW–2011–0880.

MINERS JUBILEE JULY 18, 19, 20, 2014-Jan Alexander
Preparation for Jubilee begins now! We will need to sign up volunteers for setting up the booth Thursday afternoon. There will be panning for the kids, as we always do. Donations of garnets and agates would be appreciated. The Baker Jubilee Committee has donated money to purchase more gold for the kids panning.

We will have a silent auction again this year as our big money maker. If you have items you would like to donate, take them to Chuck and Bobbies house at 740 Valley Avenue in Baker City.

MINERS JUBILEE 2014 by Chuck Chase
The Baker City Chamber of Commerce, around the first of the year, announced it would not sponsor Miners Jubilee any more. The concerned people of Baker City met with the Chamber to see if there was any way that an outside group of people could pull together and sponsor Miners Jubilee. Since early spring, once a month, there have been meetings between community leaders trying to work out a system for Miners Jubilee to continue.
The Baker City Herald, with Kerry Borgen as Chair, has taken the lead organizing the Jubilee. All venders, including food venders have been organized by Kerry and the Baker City Herald. Insurance for venders has dropped a bunch to $50 bucks per vender. That included miners’ booths. At the next meeting we will try to wrap that into one fee for all mining booths for insurance.
Also the Baker City Herald has taken the lead in raising money for the mining events put on by the Eastern Oregon Mining Association. These include the Oregon State Panning Championships, and the Oregon State Hand Steeling, plus the kids gold panning. The prize money for each event will be contingent on how much money we receive from the Baker City Herald for prize money.
Each year it has gotten harder to fund these events because of the lack of donations. Hopefully this new leadership will solve a lot of the problems that the Chamber couldn’t deal with, funding being one of them. There will be a meeting of the Jubilee Committee around the first of the month to finalize all of the committee responsibilities. I will report back to the EOMA Board of Directors about any major changes that we might need to make.
EOMA has joined as a member of the Oregon Concrete and Aggregate Producers, who have expanded and now include the Metals/Nonmetals/Precious Metals Producers division. I have joined as an individual member at a cost of $100. My hope is that other miners will jump on board and help support OPACA in defending our rights.

This legislative session is scheduled to be a bad one as far as resource industries are concerned. There are a number of bills in the works targeting miners. Two years ago, we wrote letters, camped out on the courthouse steps, tried to talk to our representatives and Senators. The important deals and decisions are made behind the scenes and in the hallways, and unless a person is well known in Salem, and understands how things work, it is difficult to convince the powers that our industry is important. SB838, with its moratorium on suction dredge mining and upland mining within 100 yards of ESH and bull trout waterways, is an example of what can happen to us if we are not represented by a lobbyist who can explain how poor legislation will affect us.

Enclosed in this newsletter is an application to become a member of OPACA. I hope others will want to join. It is a small contribution, when you consider the consequences of no gold mining in Oregon.

Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah, concerned about the armed agents that surrounded Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s property, is mulling a measure to cut funding for any “paramilitary units” that work for the Bureau of Land Management, the Internal Revenue Service and other federal regulatory agencies.
“There are lots of people who are really concerned when the BLM shows up with its own SWAT team,” he said, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. “They’re regulatory agencies. They’re not paramilitary units, and I think that concerns a lot of us.”

His mulled amendment to an appropriations bill comes in context of recent BLM actions against Mr. Bundy: The federal agents armed themselves and surrounded his property, tasered his son, closed down road access to the ranch and even shot a couple of his prize bulls. The reasons? Mr. Bundy hadn’t paid his grazing fees to the federal government, but rather fought the matter in court.
Militia from all over the nation came to the ranch to support Mr. Bundy in his standoff with the BLM — and for that, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid labeled them “domestic terrorists,” various media reported.
The BLM finally backed off and left — but not before a shocked nation expressed outrage at the government’s armed stance against a man who, at the root, was guilty of not paying a bill.
Mr. Stewart said it’s high time the government end its practice of arming its own special units for various agencies, like the BLM and the IRS.
“They should do what anyone else would do,” he told the Salt Lake Tribune. “Call the local sheriff, who has the capability to intervene in situations like that.”
The Interior Department, for its part, said the BLM and National Park Service had armed agents at Mr. Bundy’s ranch to guarantee the safety of the public and of their workers.

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

Forest Access for All (FAFA) held their first banquet/fundraiser on May 17, 2014 at the Sunridge Inn, in Baker. The evening included a great meal, several raffles, and a rousing fun-filled auction. Meb Dailey, auctioneer, kept the crowd engaged with bantering and action-filled bidding. There were several miners interspersed throughout the crowd and helping with the event. We greatly appreciate their humor and support. Those noticeably in attendance were Guy Michaels, Ken Anderson, and Ed Hardt. Ed gave us a hand at the admissions table.
FAFA’s newly-elected Executive Director, John George, introduced Sheriff Glen Palmer from Grant Co. Sheriff Palmer’s background, similar to many of us from Eastern Oregon, was spent on public land and he understands the value and heritage of our forests. He held the crowd’s attention with his views on county jurisdiction in relation to federal overreach, and stressed the County Commissioner’s power if they could be persuaded to align with Eastern Oregon residents. The crowd awarded him with a hearty standing ovation.
John George gave a brief overview of the organization’s past activities, and a glance of what is looming in the immediate couple of months. FAFA is working up a schedule of outreach meetings in communities that will be effected by the Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision. The goal is to educate, encourage and assist people in writing their responses to the Plan. He is busy drafting a “white paper” to help formulate comments.
FAFA received a $14,000 grant which is to be used for educating the public regarding access issues. John has become a road warrior for the cause in supporting this effort. Presently, we are arranging meetings/facilities in ten communities and will make every effort to accommodate requests for travel/assistance.
A schedule of meetings and events, as well as up-to-date information relating to public access, can be found on FAFA’s website at: http://forestaccessforall.org/. FAFA can also be found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ForestAccessForAll.
More than 120 California gold miners packed a courtroom in San Bernardino County last month hoping to see the end of a five-year long statewide ban on suction-dredge mining.

The Superior Court of California hearing May 1 focused on the legal question of whether or not state legislators have violated the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution by prohibiting what the federal law allows on federally managed public lands.

Attorneys for mining advocacy groups, Public Lands for the People and the New ’49ers, argued that the state has overstepped its authority, while state attorneys and those representing the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity and the Karuk Tribe, contended the state is within its right to regulate mining.

Moratorium or prohibition?
New ’49ers attorney James Buchal and PLP attorney David Young argued that the state does not have the authority to prohibit mining, which PLP contends the state has done by imposing a seemingly endless moratorium. The two-year “moratorium” has dragged on for five years since Senate Bill 670 was signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009. The dredging ban has since been extended under Assembly Bill 120 and SB 1018, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The ban was originally set for two years to allow the California Department of Fish and Wildlife ample time to accomplish three conditions needed to end the moratorium:

1. Conduct a new Environmental Impact Report on the effects of suction dredge mining;
2. Draft new suction dredging regulations and establish a new permitting process and fee structure; and
3. Require Fish and Wildlife to fully mitigate all significant environmental disturbances from dredging.

Not only are the suction dredge regulations far more restrictive, but proposed fees are much higher for permits, and the state wants to limit the number of permits issued to 1,500. One of the state restrictions calls for limiting the intake diameter of dredge hoses to four inches.

War on dredging began in the 1960s
The state has steadily clamped down on suction dredge miners since the 1960s, to the point of the latest ban. Prior to the ’60s, there was no size limit on the diameter of dredge hoses. In 1994, the state placed an eight-inch limit on dredges, but there was no limit on the number of dredging permits that could be issued by the state.

Many of today’s miners want the state to scrap the notion of limiting the number of dredging permits because under the law, everyone has the right to mine — not just the 1,500 who would get them on a first-come, first-served basis under the proposed Fish and Wildlife regulations. Others reject restrictions that call for nothing larger than a four-inch dredge because many dredgers were using six-inch and eight-dredge dredges before the 2009 ban was imposed.

The permitting process has been delayed because in 2011 state legislators voted to approve trailer bill AB 120, which ordered Fish and Wildlife to set fees for permits. However, Fish and Wildlife has since indicated that any changes to the current fee structure are beyond their authority, and will require legislative action.

On July 27, 2012, the state legislators again prohibited suction dredge mining with SB 1018, which eliminated the June 30, 2016 sunset provision in AB 120.

Federal preemption
Citing another case involving the state of California and Granite Rock Co., state attorney Marc Melnick argued that the court in the Granite Rock case found that state regulations on mining were “devoid of any intention to preempt federal law ...“We think that ends this case,” Melnick said.

Young countered that argument, saying, “Granite Rock might as well be the Rock of Ages. What we have here is an absolute prohibition. What Granite Rock says is you can regulate, but not prohibit.”

Melnick disagreed. “It’s not a prohibition; it’s a moratorium,” he said, evoking groans and guffaws from the gallery and prompting Judge Gilbert Ochoa to ask the miners to refrain from any further outbursts.


These are beautiful proof grade one ounce silver medallions with the addition of real gold “nuggets” in the pan. Your choice of years; 2012, 2013, or 2014. Send $50 plus $5.00 shipping, insurance, 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.

Has vibrating sluice and screen to 1/8 - feed Neff Bowl - for fine gold recovery, that catches everything to 500 mesh.  Cost $11,000.00 in April of 2012. For Sale for $3,950.00 Call Ed at 541-446-3212 after 6PM.  Located at 4227 Willow Creek Rd, Ironside, OR

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.

A working Knudson gold Concentrating Bowl, $600 firm. Call 541-523-3285
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 have had limited work done on them. One high bar hasn’t been touched. $5,000 firm. Call: 541-523-3285 or my Cell: 541-310-8510.

Looking for hard rock ores. The Wolff System, a new environmentally clean process for the extraction of gold from hard rock ores, even sulfides. Contact the Wolff Corporation, Phil Wolff, at 520-264-8847 or email me at adamwolff@reagan.com and discuss your specific needs.