Eastern Oregon Mining Association
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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20160125

JANUARY 2016Newsletter
Volume 316

Meetings are held on the first Friday of the month. The next meeting will be Friday, JANUARY 1st 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!

My favorite quote for the New Year is, “Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called WHINING!” We are fortunate to have some new, positive leadership on the Oregon legislative front with the formation of the Oregon Mining Association and its Political Action Committee (PAC). Electing legislators who are motivated to pass reasonable legislation regarding the use and access to Oregon’s natural resources is needed. Be sure to support the Oregon Mining Association’s PAC with your donation. Also, Baker County and other Counties are making a serious attempt to convince the Federal Government to coordinate their Federal plans with the County plans, as they design the future use of our public lands.
Waiting for over ten years for approval of small-scale mining and exploration plans of operation is a big problem. These simple mining projects often disturb less than an acre of ground, and yet the Forest Service spends years writing documents that will not even stand up to a court challenge. It is a fact, that large mining companies often have to hire their own experts in order to write acceptable environmental studies. Government agency employees have been unable to or very slow to write the required documents, even on very small projects. Agencies need to hire people who are capable of writing adequate environmental documents, and then they need to direct these employees to get their work done. Support MMAC and PLP’s effort to get needed legislation passed. It’s going to be a busy year.
This coming year is going to be critical in getting reasonable forest plans adopted, and also a travel management plan for the Wallowa-Whitman that will allow people to utilize and enjoy our public lands and wisely use our natural resources. We all need to work together to reach these goals. 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. Please send in your dues. Encourage your friends and neighbors to join us.
“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. However, the Forest Service does not seem to know this law exists, and this attitude is reflected in their do-nothing strategy in approving Plans of Operation and in answering EOMA's FOIA. The excuse given to me for their inaction was that there were other FOIAs submitted concerning wildfires, and the fact that many employees were off for the holidays. Maybe we will have the answers in January.

For those who have forgotten what this is about, Jim and Pam Haney were told on June 24, 2015 that there were several other Plans ahead of theirs when they submitted their Plan of Operation for the Standby, a plan already analyzed in the NFBR EIS. Haneys lost the entire mining season because the Forest Service would not respond to their Plan. EOMA filed their FOIA in support of all miners, not just Haneys. We asked for (1) Plans of Operation, NOIs and bonds Wade Krist worked on between June 24, 2015 to November 13, 2015, and (2) we asked for any written correspondence to miners during that period of time.

Under 5 USC 702 of APA, a person suffering legal wrong because of agency action, or adversely affected or aggrieved by agency action within the meaning of a relevant statute, is entitled to judicial review thereof. A claim that an agency or an officer or employee thereof acted or failed to act in an official capacity or under color of legal authority shall not be dismissed nor relief therein be denied on the ground that it is against the United States or that the United States is an indispensable party. The United States may be named as a defendant in any such action, and a judgment or decree may be entered against the United States: Provided, That any mandatory or injunctive decree shall specify the Federal officer or officers (by name or by title), and their successors in office, personally responsible for compliance.
ROUND TABLE DECEMBER 16, 2015-Jan Alexander
The Round Table was held on December 15, 2015, in the Commission Chambers at the Court House. Don Gonzales from the BLM gave us a status report on the two Plans of Operation that BLM is working on-Don J and True. Steve Flock talked about several expired notices, some with bonds in place, where reclamation is needed. I asked Steve to see if EOMA could assist with some of the reclamation work. This is one of the things EOMA does without charge, as a good will gesture, when reclamation is needed. Steve agreed to contact me with the details of reclamation needed on the Rachael, Gold Hill, Flagstaff and the shaft on the Don J.

Don reported that Grassy Mountain has all inventories completed and next summer will continue with a drill program. This project is in general grouse habitat. Don reported that Baker County's grouse population has dropped, and because of this they have 6 months to do inventories to figure out why the population dropped. Don also talked about the proposed withdrawal from mineral entry in sage brush focal areas. The BLM is now only targeting the actual sage brush focal areas, rather than the entire Township where these occur. EOMA asserts that withdrawing areas from mineral entry, when there are perfectly good regulations in place to administer mining, is unacceptable. In Malheur County there are three claim owners with multiple claims, and one claimant who owns one claim.

There was a bonding discussion. The Forest Service is not willing to accept third party bond (where EOMA pledges the bond money for another miner). BLM is fine with third party bonds. Jeff said he was not comfortable with Irrevocable Letters of Credit used as a bonding instrument. BLM accepts Letters of Credit. Jan said she would send Jeff some information.

Ken next led a discussion on roads. He related the fact that existing open roads at the beginning of the ten year period when the NFBR EIS was being written, had grassed over by the time his Plan of Operation was approved. The Forest Service then decided the road was "obliterated" (paper exercise in the office) and Ken had to post bond to reclaim this road. This is very sneaky of the Forest Service-they make the miners obliterate roads during reclamation, and close open roads at the end of each season, and the general public blames the miners. Bill Harvey stated that roads needed to remain open for fighting fire. Robert Macon said he had the fire staff officer review all road closures. Bill said that all road closures had to go through the county first.

Ken asked Jeff Tomac again for written policy/direction on transferring Plans of Operation, answering correspondence and bonding. Jeff said he has been busy with timber sales. He said Granite Preliminary Record of Decision would be out in January. Jan asked why the Biological Opinion was being rewritten to delete suction dredge mining. Jeff said he was looking into this.

Jeff stated that he had made the decision that miners could see their Forest Service files. Jeff said the NEPA was done for Golden Angel and they were working on a bond amount. He also said correspondence was going out in a timely manner. Jan agreed that she had seen letters acknowledging submittal of two Plans. There is still a large backlog of Plans of Operation in the Powder, in the North Fork John Day and miscellaneous watersheds.
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 over the withdrawals. 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). Their attorneys are drafting the two complaints to be filed ASAP.

WRLC is concerned that there was no legislative action to avert the moratorium on suction dredging and mining within 300 feet of ESH waterways. The Forest Service has decided to go ahead and approve Plans of Operation which take place beside ESH streams, but they also decided to remove their analysis on suction dredge mining from the Biological Assessment. Ranger Reed informed me in a letter dated December 21, 2015, that all miners in the Granite watershed who have applicant status will be "notified of this change" in the BA. This letter can be used to support the lawsuit against the state that SB 838 is precluding mining on Federal lands.

Western Resources Legal Center will take on the State of Oregon for its moratorium. WRLC and Oregon Mining Association, a non-profit corporation that promotes mining activities and the mining industry in Oregon, are working together on this case which will be filed in State 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.

For once there is good news! The Oregon Supreme Court is willing to review our arguments against the case being moot, and whether SB838 applies due to the moratorium beginning in 2016. This is important, since there are still streams in Oregon where dredging can be authorized by DEQ. Using the moratorium as the basis for dismissing EOMA's case is not valid. We have until December 31, 2015, to file our Opening Brief unless James Buchal is granted an extension of time to file. No matter what, NPDES is not the right permit, since suction dredges do not discharge anything new into the waterways.

The way of life on Oregon’s Public Lands is being threatened by a west side organization again. Oregon Wild has their cross hairs on over 200,000 acres of the Ochoco Mountains in Crook County, Oregon, locking it up as a new recreation area (ONRA). Those of you that have driven the road from John Day through to Prineville have marveled at the beautiful scenery and large yellow pine. Oregon Wild wants to block access, and recreational opportunities to the citizens of Crook county by making this area off limits to all but a few, and preventing logging, mining, hunting, fishing, etc.

I attended the meeting in Prineville several weeks ago and was asked to be a guest speaker to a packed house of very angry citizens. The meeting was held at the local museum in Prineville. About 150 people showed up to voice their concerns, with only one member of Oregon Wild also attending. Ken Taylor was the facilitator for the meeting; Ken is currently running for Crook County Commissioner in 2016. He will be a good conservative addition to middle of the road county commission. I mentioned that Oregon Wild needed to keep up their great work, that they would get Trump elected yet. The lone lady representing Oregon Wild and surrounded by hostiles, probably felt like Custer did at the Little Big Horn. The lists of speakers were mostly resource people brought in to address their respective areas of the resource industry. Timber industry people and private timber land owners expressed concern over the mismanagement of the Ochoco National Forest. The comparison was similar to our forest problems here in Baker County. The Crook County people pointed a finger at the catastrophic forest fires that ravaged hundreds of thousands of acres in Baker and Grant Counties, turning them into a black and charred war zone. Foresters said that the undergrowth all through the east side forests was similar and all of them were waiting for the inevitable fire to destroy their forest, and a Ochoco NRA would guarantee it.

I spoke in behalf of the Ochoco miners, and reminded them that theirs is a statutory right, and the grazing permits and state water rights were also permitted rights on the public lands. The discovery of rare earth elements in Baker County, plus pending legislation on the Critical Minerals Act might breathe new life into the minerals industry. Also, that more exploration was needed to determine if there are any strategic minerals present of economic value in the Ochoco Mountains. It would roll rocks under the wheels of the Green Machine. It would also help in the determination of whether to put the Ochocos into a National Recreation Area. Please support “Central Oregon Patriots”, just type us into your browser and join our fight.
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 previous year's medallions, as well as the gorgeous new 2016 medallions. These are currently selling for $50.00 apiece plus $5.00 shipping, handling, and insurance. (Prices are subject to change). You can order yours 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 541-523-3285.

(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