Eastern Oregon Mining Association
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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20150226

FEBRUARY 2015 Newsletter
Volume 305

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

Find the last page of this newsletter, fill it out and get it back to EOMA ASAP along with your membership fees. That way you will continue to be informed on what is going on with mining in the west.

Mark your calendars for this mining summit, it will be well worth your time. There is no cost for this Summit, but people are encouraged to register before January 27, 2015, so we will be assured of ample seating and refreshments. The Summit will be held at the Events Center in Baker City, located at 2600 East Street. Same day registration begins at 11:30AM, with the Summit beginning at 12:15 PM.

There will be three panels of experts, including attorneys, economists, retired State employees, along with City Council members, County Commissioners, State Senators and Representatives and EOMAs lobbyist, Rich Angstrom. Meet aggregate miners, other Forest and Public Lands users, along with other metal miners. Find out the things that we all have in common, and how best to fight Oregons war on mining, including problems with permitting and with access.

There will be a discussion on the economic benefits of mining, a discussion of why it is so difficult to mine in Oregon, and a discussion on how best to fix the problems. Those who attend will have ample opportunity to ask questions and provide input. Hope to see you all there!

\In the 2012 ranking of countries for mining investment, the United States ranked last due to permitting delays,\ said Rep. Mark Amodei (NV-02). \Duplicative regulations, bureaucratic inefficiency, and lack of coordination between federal agencies are threatening the economic recovery of my home state and jeopardizing our national security. Decade-long permitting delays are standing in the way of high-paying jobs and revenue for local communities\.

Approval of the Forest Service Plans of Operation analyzed under the North Fork Burnt River Mining Projects EIS is a good example of how permitting delays are hurting mining. Jan and I waited ten years for our Plans of Operation to be approved. During the time that we were waiting, we got a little age on us, but other miners fared worse than we did. Some got to the point that they were too old to mine, or they died during the time that they were delayed in their mining operations.

Pete Gass, who many of you knew, was a good miner and a patient man, but the years got the best of him, and he recently passed away. His son was not interested in mining, and Jan and I ended up with Petes claim. Ranger Tomac assured us when the EIS was nearing completion, that any of the Plans of Operation analyzed under the EIS could be approved for other miners, as long as they wanted to do a similar operation on the same property. Ranger Tomac also assured us that the analysis was for a particular piece of land, not for a particular person. Thus, upon the advice of the Forest Service, we submitted the exact same exploration plan that Pete had submitted, a plan that was analyzed in the Burnt River Mining Projects EIS.

What happened next was amazing. The exact same plan was not good enough to approve for us, although it would have been approved for Pete. This is not a full blown mining plan. This is a simple exploration plan on a dry ridge far from any streams or wetlands. The Forest Service has yet to approve the Plan for us. We have been promised a letter in 30 days. We are hopeful that they are just overwhelmed with their workload approving many miner’s plans for the upcoming season. I will keep you all informed as this plays out.

WE WILL MISS YOU EUGENE “PETE” GASS 1924 -2014-Chuck Chase
A belated farewell to an old friend and miner Pete Gass. Pete was 89 when he passed away; Pete will be missed by his many friends and family, and by the Eastern Oregon Mining Association. I remember Pete most by him bringing rock samples by for me to look at and assay the best looking ones. In Pete’s later years he transferred his mining claims over to his relatives and hung up his gold pan. We in the mining association will miss you Pete.

We have lost another old timer with the passing of Bill Scott at age 98. His son Dave told me that Bill had just recently informed him that he was ready to start walking again so when spring came he could go back to the mountains. Bill lived to mine, and I treasure the memories I have of Bill and his wife Nan, and how much the grandkids loved him and the South Trail Creek claims.

EOMA ELECTIONS…..2015-Chuck Chase
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.
The outcome of the March vote count will be in the April Newsletter.

Since there is a federal mineral estate underlying federal mining claims, the Department of the Interior, through the Bureau of Land Management, retains ultimate jurisdiction over management of these mineral resources. Congress has declared, through passage of the Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970, that the Secretary of the Interior shall be the person responsible for and abide by a specific mining and minerals policy. “It is the continuing policy of the Federal Government in the national interest to foster and encourage private enterprise in (1) development of economically sound and stable domestic mining minerals, metal and mineral reclamation industries…and … (4) the study and development of methods…to lessen any adverse impact of mineral extraction and processing upon the physical environment that may result from mining or mineral activities (30 USC§21a). Again, Congress has directed Federal Government agencies to foster and encourage private citizens in the development of our domestic minerals.

A lot of miners, as well as many bureaucrats, do not understand that mining Plans of Operation are agreements, rather than contracts. Mining of locatable minerals is a granted statutory right under the General Mining Law of 1872, as amended. Mining your valuable mineral deposit cannot be denied by the government without paying you compensation. A plan of operations is an agreement between you and the government on how you intend to extract your minerals. Basically, you propose how you intend to mine or explore your deposit. The government studies your proposal, and they may come up with ways to modify your proposal in order for you to have less impact on other surface resources. They cannot deny your ability to recover your minerals, nor can they make unreasonable demands that make your operation unfeasible.

“Strategic and critical minerals are essential to our economy, livelihood and national security. Renewable energy, national defense equipment, agriculture, healthcare and everyday items such as televisions, telephones, computers and light bulbs are all dependent on minerals,” said Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Chairman Lamborn. “Domestic mining faces many challenges in the U.S., permitting and access being only a sliver of the numerous challenges facing mine development.”

“However”, he stated, “it also holds great promise as we will hear from folks who see a bright future and opportunity. Harvesting domestic mineral resources contributes to local economies, and to the nation’s overall economic security from the most basic level up.”
In the public lands of the United States, where the lands are open to mineral entry, miners have granted rights under the 1872 Mining Law. These rights include the right to explore, prospect, mine and claim the land, which includes the streambeds of the non-navigable streams that cross those deposits.
The State of Oregon has long since recognized that “Mining claims are realty”, “[t]he owner of the possessory right thereto has a legal estate therein within the meaning of ORS 105.005.” (ORS 517.080). These lands are destined for mining as is granted to them and recognized by the State of Oregon. The State cannot prohibit mining, because this action would “frustrate” the purpose of the grant by Congress. (Perez v. Campbell, 402 US 637 (1971) states, “any state legislation which frustrates the full effectiveness of federal law is rendered invalid by the Supremacy Clause” regardless of the underlying purpose of its enactors”.
The state does have the authority to permit “reasonable environmental regulation.” As the Court stated: “neither do we take the course of condemning the permit requirement on the basis of as yet unidentifiable conflicts with the federal scheme.” (Id. at 594) (California Costal Comm’n. v. Granite Rock Co., 480 U.S. 572).

EOMA requested copies of all the hydrology field notes for the miners with Plans of Operation analyzed under the North Fork Burnt River Mining EIS. Forest Service personnel working on this request were timely and very helpful.

When miners apply for their WPCF settling pond permits, the information in these field notes is very helpful. Anyone who needs a copy of the field notes for their plan of operation, please give me a call at 541-446-3413.

An annual report is required to be filed with DSL if you are dredging in essential salmon habitat (ESH waterways). The law requires the following: “The responsible party must maintain a monitoring log and record the date, location, nozzle diameter and amount of material disturbed for each day of operation. By February 28 of each year, the responsible party must submit to the Department an annual report, on a form provided by the Department, that states the estimated amount of material that was filled, removed or moved in each specific waterway during the preceding calendar year. If no jurisdictional activity was conducted, the report must be submitted reporting zero cubic yards for the year. Authorizations will not be renewed for the following calendar year if the annual report is not filed by February 28\.

Last month, Jeff Tomac, Whitman Ranger District Ranger, said he expected the EIS to be ready for public review within the next two weeks. Now, according to the Forest Service, it will be “early February” before it will be ready to come out.

Jerry Hobbs, President of PLP (Public Lands for the People), has passed away in San Bernardino Ca. The small scale mining community has lost a relentless advocate for small scale mining and public land rights. Jerry was a defender of rural America, and more broadly of constitutional government. His passing is a great loss. See the next article for one of Jerrys huge accomplishments.

After years of legal wrangling, California Superior Court Judge Gilbert Ochoa has ruled that the state cannot undermine federal law by banning the use of gold suction dredges.
Public Lands for the People has applauded the federal preemption ruling which was handed down Monday, Jan. 12. PLP President Walt Wegner said today that while PLP is “extremely happy,” he will wait until he has had a chance to thoroughly review the 21-page ruling with PLP Attorney David Young, before issuing an official statement on the ruling.
The court ruling states: “On its motions for summary adjudication, the court finds there is no triable issue of material on the issue of federal preemption and that as a matter of law and in actual fact, that the State’s extraordinary scheme of requiring permits and then refusing to issue them whether and/or being unable to issue permits for years stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment of the full purposes and objectives of Congress under ‘Granite Rock and a de facto ban.’”
PLP has been fighting against the statewide suction dredging ban for more than five years and is a plaintiff in the ongoing court-ordered Mandatory Settle Conference that Ochoa ordered last May. Negotiations between miners, their attorneys and environmental groups are scheduled to reconvene Jan. 23 to discuss reasonable dredging regulations.
In the previous decade, 2001 -2011, the U.S. Dollar had a starting value of $1.20, today it is at $.85. Many economists believe it will collapse to $.50 on the next leg down; if it survives at all. Gold is a mirror image of the value of the dollar and has strongly increased in value. Since 2001, gold is up over 450%, but gold has corrected with the dollar in recent years. National Debt is out of control and unsustainable.

The public doesnt fully realize how much debt the Federal Reserve is saddling it with, since we went off of the Gold Standard. In 1914, $100,000 cash would buy 16 nice homes. In 1914, our money was gold and silver. It took approximately 5,000 ounces of gold at $20.00 per ounce to equal $100,000. Today $100,000 in cash wont buy one home. However, that same 5,000 ounces of gold is worth approximately $6,000,000 today and will still buy 16 nice homes. Today the government is diluting our wealth at the fastest pace in history. The ramifications will be accelerated due to this massive unsustainable indebtedness. In just over 14 years, the value of gold has increased over fourfold. Physical gold has no debts or liabilities, unlike the U.S. dollar. It might be the time to take advantage of the current low prices in gold.

The Baker County chapter of Oath Keepers is dedicated to preserving and protecting our Republic. We are composed of members of the armed forces and law enforcement (active duty and reserves/retired) and public safety officers and elected officials who have sworn a solemn Oath to defend the Constitutionally-protected Rights of the people. Like-minded Citizens join us in educating the military, LEOs, and public officers in all jurisdictions about their true DUTY to the People, and demand and remove from office, organization or agency those who fail to abide by their Oaths. With tens of thousands of members around the world, our goal is to have an active county chapter in every state. We support the lawful jurisdiction and authority of our country over the federal and state governments, especially in cases where the health, safety and welfare of the People are involved. The Oath Keepers have extensive legal knowledge and have drafted several Ordinances requiring Constitutional conduct that we fully expect will be adopted by the County Commissioners in the coming months.

Go to the national Oath keeper website (oathkeepers.org) and see for yourself what we ARE and what we ARE NOT. See the TEN ORDERS WE WILL NOT OBEY. See how we go to the aid of high-profile “victims”. Check out our new website and learn some things you never knew about the true authority and jurisdiction of the federal government, and of the MULTIPLE constitutions and the deceit and misrepresentations caused by this confusion. Go to www.BakerCountySolutions.com. After learning about us and our objectives, you will see that OUR battles are YOUR battles. To be put on our mailing list to be notified of our monthly meetings and interesting local events, and to stay updated, please send a note to bakercountyoathkeepers@gmail.com We have adopted the saying of Baker County Commissioner Bill Harvey, “Never give up, never give in” when defending Constitutionally-protected Rights. The Oath Keepers Motto is “Not on our Watch”. Please JOIN WITH US in our common cause to protect the CONSTITUTION and the strangling encroachment of the Federal Government.

There are only a handful of 2014 medallions left. When they are gone, the only way to obtain one would be if you can find another miner willing to sell one to you. EOMA medallions are beautiful proof grade one ounce silver medallions with the addition of real gold “nuggets” in the pan. 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 2014 or 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 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. For details, go to the EOMA website at http://www.h2oaccess.com.