Eastern Oregon Mining Association
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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20140403

APRIL 2014 Newsletter
Volume 295

EOMA INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.h2oaccess.com/

The meetings are held on the first Friday of the month. The next meeting is Friday, APRIL 4TH 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.


Jeff Tomac, Wallowa-Whitman District Ranger, will be our guest speaker at the meeting. Bring your questions and concerns about mining on National Forest System lands. Miners have been asking EOMA Board members about when they will get to mine in the Granite watershed. This would be a good question for Jeff. He can also answer questions about the Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision.

If you have taken New Miner Training previously, you still need your Annual Refresher. The class will be given at the extension building in Baker City, located at 2610 Grove Street right across from the new armory building. Training starts at 8 o’clock AM. The cost is $15 for the class. Call Jan Alexander at 541-446-3413 if you have questions.

The radical preservationists have increased their effort to close our public lands to public access and use! The latest attack on the three National Forests in Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington is found in the Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision (BMFPR). Forest Access for All (FAFA) is actively fighting for your rights. Please join and support this organization if you can. Information can be found at: http://forestaccessforall.org/

Are you wondering if the Plan will affect miners? On page 133, we see the statement, “Existing and proposed uses that could compromise wilderness area eligibility prior to congressional designation should not be authorized.” What happened to valid existing rights?
“If you like your roads you can keep your roads.” If you believe this, you haven’t read the Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision (BMFPR).

WW Forest Supervisor John Laurence keeps saying that “the proposed plan doesn’t authorize the closure of any roads.” In fact, the BMFPR adds104,500 acres of “nonmotorized” use areas to the WWNF. It also adds another 145,500 acres of “backcountry” to the WWNF. This only allows “motorcycles, OHVs, snowmobiles, bicycles, and motorized equipment such as chainsaws and generators” to be used. Thus, an additional ¼ million acres are added on the WWNF prohibiting full-sized vehicles. For all three forests the additional total acres in these two categories is 653,400 acres. (Table 11 Page 75) There is already almost a million acres of designated wilderness in the three forests. This plan would literally add over a million acres of proposed wilderness or travel restricted areas to the three forests. I have heard accusations that the Forest Service is being vague and dishonest about revealing to the public what the BMFP plan is going to do to the public’s ability to use the forest. If you want to be able to use your forest, you better speak up.

President Ken Alexander
Executive Director Chuck Chase
Vice President Terry Drever Gee
Treasurer Bobbie Danser
Corresponding Secretary Bob Heitmanek
Recording Secretary Carmelita Holland
Director of Govt. Affairs Terry Drever Gee
Mineral Policy Director Jan Alexander
Sergeant At Arms Jerry Florence

Directors 2014-2016
Scott Guthrie
Ed Bechtel
Tork Ballard
Beckie Guthrie
Craig Monpas
Leon Dale
Keith Magnuson
Jim Haney

Ill bet you didnt know the Burnt River Canyon is a \limited access\ area designated by the BLM. We just found out recently what this really means on a field trip to the canyon with some miners and BLM employees, including BLMs roads person. It seemed clear enough to me, that \limited access\ means that miners must use existing roads and trails, and cannot drive cross-country. However, this can be tricky. Even roads and trails that are open and drivable and may seem \existing\ to you, may not be \existing\ in the eyes of BLM.

Before you drive that nice two track road on your claim, you need to call or drop by BLM in Baker and see if BLM considers your access route to be either a road or a trail. On our field trip, BLM stated that they have three categories of roads; primary, secondary and trails. BLM thought the road the miners were using would be categorized as a \trail\, which would have been fine, but there was a question as to whether it was on their road inventory. If it turns out that the road or trail is not on BLMs inventory, and they think you have been driving there, you will be written a letter of noncompliance, and you will not be able to access your claim, even to do hand work, unless you file a notice and post a bond. Miners are advised not to call Field Manager Lori Wood with any questions. The best one to talk to is geologist Steve Flock, at 541-523-1487.

CRITICAL MINERALS GET A HEARING American Mining and Exploration Association
The Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee held a hearing on S.1600: Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013. The hearing was positive with the majority of speakers in favor of the bill being Democrats.  Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) provided a solid introduction listing many of the essential uses of critical mineral and saying \we need to look at ways to reduce delays to permit more.\ Sen. Wyden closed by saying to Sen. Murkowski \we are going to get the administration on this as well.\  

The Forest Service will be holding two additional public meetings on the Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision besides the ones previously announced. Meetings start at 5:30 and go until 8:30pm. One is on April 9th in Clarkston Washington at the Walla Walla Community College, Clarkston Campus, 1470 Bridge Street, and one is on April 10th in Ontario Oregon at the Four Rivers Cultural Center, 676 SW 5th Avenue. Call Jodi Kramer 541-523-1246 for further information about a meeting near you. This Plan will be the guiding document for the Malheur, Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and a portion of the Ochoco National Forest.

This Plan will cover 4.9 million acres. All of the proposed alternatives are more restrictive of your access and use of the forests except Alternative A, which describes the current use. It will be up to you to show up at these meetings and learn how to make written comments that will be effective in letting the Forest Service know how you plan on using the National Forests. Remember, these forests were originally reserved out of county lands for the use and benefit of the people; they were never meant to be made into non-use areas. The Forests are to be managed for multiple uses. There is a good quote you should remember from FLPMA, “The Secretary shall manage the public lands under principles of multiple use and sustained yield, in accordance with the land use plans developed by him…..”

As with the BLM Land Management and the Blue Mountain Revision, you can no longer appeal a decision by the agencies, you \object\. I believe that being able to appeal an agencys decision is part of the NEPA process. But in March of 2013, the language was changed through the Federal Register to “Objection” instead of \Appeal\. Maybe this is a question for Jeff Tomac.

ROUNDTABLE JANUARY 11, 2014-Jan Alexander
At the January 11, 2014 meeting, John Laurence talked about the Blue Mountain Revision. He stressed that travel management is a separate issue. He said they are still working on maps. Lori Wood talked about the Sage Grouse Plan. A final will be out September 2014. She said the Virtue Flat area is close to the 3% cap on disturbance recommended in the Plan. Lori was skeptical about EOMAs new proposed bonding MOU, but she explained that she does not make the decisions, she is a member of a leadership team that makes the decisions. Ray Lovisone and Matt Weseman, detailers for the FS, are working to get NFBR Plans of Operation approved. There was discussion about other projects being approved before mining projects, and the impacts on miners from FS and BLM stalling Plan approval. Jeff talked about how poor the budgets are. Marc Pierce reminded the miners not to talk to Lori, but rather to contact him or his staff. Meg told the group she was a \public servant\ and miners should come to her for help. The public is invited to these meetings. The next one will be on May 5, 2014.

Baker City Meeting: On Tuesday, March 25, John Laurence Supervisor of the Wallowa Whitman Forest met with concerned citizens over the proposed Forest Service Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision. This Plan includes W-W, Umatilla, Malheur and parts of the Ochoco.

The meeting started at 5:30 pm and lasted until 8:30 pm. There were about 100 people who showed up to voice their concerns. An outside contractor was the facilitator for the meeting. John Lawrence made an extended presentation, and answered questions, but made it very clear that this \wasn’t about road closures.” In fact it is all about road closures. All roads above 1.5 miles of road per square mile will be closed when the “desired conditions” are met. Also, another 90,000 acres of wilderness will be added to the already huge wilderness inventory. Wilderness is like a cancer, it infects forest lands adjoining it, setting the stage for the next wilderness designation. The 1.5 mile density sets the stage for the upcoming Travel Management Plan (TMP), which will be finalized after they get the Blue Mountain Forest Plan finalized.
The meeting in Baker City wasn’t too organized by the FS. You couldn’t hear the questions asked by the audience because they never gave anyone a microphone. Some of the F.S. personnel’s responses were inaudible as well, even though they did use a microphone. There was a lot of anger in the questions from the audience, and about half way through, an audience participant, John George, was harassed, heckled, intimidated, and shouted down by Wallowa Whitman National Forest Biologist Mark Penninger. John finally stood down, not being able to finish his statements or ask his questions. John, along with about 1/3 of the audience in support of him, got up and walked out. There was a loud applause in support of John, and the facilitator asked us not to do that, as it disrespected the people that didn’t feel the way we did. It kind of broke the meeting up; they called a short break in order to get control, and then adjourned.
La Grande Meeting: The following evening La Grande had its turn with the Forest Service. Bobbie and I decided to go to this one also. We got there a little early, and found there were already as many people there as attended the Baker City meeting. Even after the meeting started, people kept coming in and filling up the seating in the room, with a large contingent standing in the back of the room. As with the Baker City meeting, there was a lot of hostility in the questions coming from the audience.
The FS and their contractor were better able to control our questions during the comment period following the Forest Service Power Point show. They had microphones for the people asking the questions and there was no attempt to shut people off before they had their say. Even though I am sure there were environmentalists in the audience, they were not vocal about their convictions. There were several people who got loud applause following their statements. Immediately, the audience got warnings from the facilitator to please not do that, as it intimidates those with differing views (environmentalists) from saying anything. It happened several more times, so I guess the people in the audience never got the message.
Halfway Meeting: Bobbie and I were getting a little burned out on meetings and didn’t attend the Halfway meeting. There was a conflict with the FS meeting, as it was scheduled at the same time as the Water Board meeting. Even though many people could not attend, all in all there were about 75 people who showed up for the meeting. As with the other two meetings, there were a lot of hostile, yet well thought out questions and comments brought forward from the audience.
The Forest Service needs to realize that the animosity expressed at these meetings is nothing compared to what is going to happen when they get around to the Travel Management Plan. They better call out the National Guard for that go-round.

PRESIDENT OBAMA RELEASES HIS BUDGET-American Mining and Exploration Association
Mining Taxes: As in the past, the budget includes a number of tax provisions targeting the mining industry. In total, the budget proposes to raise $4 billion over the next 10 years by: eliminating the expensing of exploration and development ($679 million); repealing percentage depletion for hardrock mineral fossil fuels ($2.05 billion); repealing capital gains treatment for royalties ($508 million).

Superfund Taxes: The budget reinstates the Superfund tax that expired in 1995 ($23 billion).  
We assume these proposals will be identical or at least similar to the previous budgets as follows:
Hardrock Minerals Leasing and Federal Hardrock Royalty:The budget calls for the administration to submit a legislative proposal to \reform hardrock mineral production on federal lands.\ That proposal would not only prospectively institute a leasing process for minerals currently covered by the Mining Law, but it would also require annual rental payments and a royalty of no less than five percent gross proceeds. Existing mining claims would be exempt from the change to the leasing system but would be subject to increases in the annual maintenance fees under the Mining Law ($80 million). 

Dirt Tax on Hardrock Mining for AML: Similar to the 2013 budget proposal, the administration proposes a new \dirt tax\ on hardrock mining to be used for reclamation purposes across all land ownerships. While discussed as a proposed fee \on production\ of hardrock minerals, the \dirt tax\ is based on \volume of material displaced.\ Since the language and the amount to be collected are identical to the 2013 budget, we are assuming that the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data will be used to determine the volume of material displaced. The USGS collects data on \material handled at surface and underground mines\ in the U.S. as part of its Minerals Yearbook series. This data used to be collected annually, but the latest data available covers 2009. Using the 2009 USGS numbers and the budget documents estimation of raising a little more than $180 million per year through the new \dirt tax,\ it appears as though the new fee would be approximately 7.8 cents per ton of material displaced. 
The Presidents Budget has very little to no chance of passage in the current Congress.

RARE EARTHS LEGISLATION INTRODUCED-American Mining and Exploration Association
Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have introduced S.2006: National Rare Earth Cooperative Act of 2014.The bill looks to make the U.S. less dependent on China for certain minerals used in energy and defense products.China supplies 91 percent of the U.S.s rare earth oxides, a specific type of critical mineral, and has a \near-monopoly\ on critical minerals production, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said at a hearing on another critical minerals bill (S. 1600) on Jan. 28. This leaves the U.S. vulnerable to supply disruption and price manipulation, according to the news release announcing Blunt and Manchins bill. Blunt and Manchins bill would allow rare earth element suppliers and end users to set up a \rare earth refining cooperative\ in the U.S., encouraging domestic production and refining, according to the release.
WATERS OF THE US- American Mining and Exploration Association
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Corps of Engineers (Corps) have jointly submitted for inter-agency review a draft proposed rule (Draft) to revise the definition of \waters of the United States\ (WOTUS) for all Clean Water Act (CWA) programs. The definitional changes contained in the Draft would have the effect of changing the scope of federal CWA jurisdiction at the expense of sate jurisdiction and significantly expand federal control of land and water resources across the Nation.
The American Farm Bureau Federation recently held a webinar of which AEMA staff participated to learn more about the flaws of the rule.

Most miners know they have a Fifth Amendment private property right in the mineral estate underlying their claims. The Fifth Amendment requires just compensation when the government takes your property. Public Law 167 states that the government cannot \materially interfere\ with your mining operation. If the Forest Service or BLM conducts activities on your claims, such as a restoration project, building a camp ground, road or trail, and they do not coordinate their activities with you, there could be a \takings\ if a part of your claim cannot now be mined.

The Court’s first step in evaluating any Fifth Amendment taking claim is to determine the nature of the interest allegedly taken; that is, whether the plaintiff had a legally-cognizable property interest. A court must “inquire into the nature of the land owner’s estate to determine whether the use interest proscribed by the governmental action was part of the owner’s title to begin with, (i.e., whether the land use interest was a \stick\ in the bundle of property rights acquired by the owner). The plaintiff bears the burden of proving that he possesses a legally-cognizable property interest. See Skip Kirchdorfer, 6 F.3d at 1580.

If a plaintiff possesses a compensable property right, a court proceeds to the second step. Under that second step, a court determines whether the governmental action at issue constituted a taking of that “stick”. See M & J Coal Co. v. United States, 47 F.3d 1148, 1154 (Fed. Cir. 1995). The second step of the analysis, an intensely factual inquiry, includes consideration of the character of the governmental action, the economic impact of the action on the claimant, and the reasonable expectations of the claimant.
Over 30 wilderness statutes since 1980 state, “Congress does not intend that designations of wilderness areas….. lead to the creation of protective perimeters of buffer zones around each wilderness areas. The fact that nonwilderness activities or uses can be seen or heard from areas within the wilderness shall not, of itself, preclude such activities or uses up to the boundary of the wilderness area.” Take a look at the preferred Alternative map E and F for BMFRP
NEW YORK OIL AND GAS FRACKING GOES TO COURT-Mountain States Legal Foundation News Letter
Environmentalists, extremists and Hollywood big names fight to stop oil and gas fracking in New York state. In February, a coalition of New York landowners, numbering over 70,000 sued Governor Andrew Cuomo, two State agencies, and their top officials demanding the right to develop the rich Marcellus Shale beneath their land. After nearly six years of a moratorium barring them from using their land to develop its energy, while waiting for a pending an environmental study. They are done waiting and hired Mountain States Legal Foundation to fight for their rights.

Tom Kitchar, Tom Quintal, Scott Attkinson, Matt Ellsworth, Tom Seal and I will sit at the table with ODF&W, USF&WL, National Marine Fisheries, environmentalists, DEQ, DSL, Forest Service, and BLM to try to resolve the issues with this law and the upcoming moratorium on suction dredge mining. The following are my goals for this study group.
Goals: My goal is to come up with \recommendations on a revised regulatory framework for suction dredge mining in Oregon\. However, since the law includes mining in the uplands and 303(d) listed streams, recommendations concerning these areas are also needed. An important goal is to determine what this task force is actually about. Is it really about the fish?

Expectations: I expect all involved to work together in an effort to avert the moratorium in 2016. The first thing is to openly discuss the concerns task force members have about suction dredge mining, about waterways listed under 303(d), and about mining within 100 yds. of the waterways. The second would be to dispel inaccurate information. The third would be to have all task force members understand the level of administration, and the mitigations currently in place to protect water quality, both for suction dredge operations and operations within 100 yards of the waterways. The fourth would be to come up with fair and equitable suction dredge permit conditions, and a streamlined permitting system for suction dredge miners. The fifth would be to confine permitting to industrial suction dredge mining, where miners have a private property right in the minerals. The sixth would be that the confusing wording pertaining to a moratorium on mining within 100 yards of waterways be removed from the law, and the possible prohibition on mining in 303(d) listed waterways be addressed on a case by case basis.

Successful Outcome: A successful outcome, in my opinion, would be that there would be no moratorium, task force members would agree on suction dredge permit conditions that protect the fish and water quality, and members would agree on a streamlined permitting process for industrial suction dredge mining.

Our first meeting in Salem is April 10, 2013. I will keep you posted.
FOREST SERVICE ORGANIC ADMINISTRATION ACT OF 1897 16 U.S.C. §§ 473-478, 479-482 and 551, June 4, 1897, as amended 1905, 1911, 1925, 1962, 1964, 1968 and 1976.
Overview. This Act is the original organic act governing the administration of national forest lands. Today, it is one of several federal laws under which the U.S. Forest Service operates, the primary ones being the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960 (MUSYA) and the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (NFMA).

Purposes for Establishing and Administering National Forests. Public lands set aside and reserved as national forests under 16 U.S.C. § 471 (an 1891 law authorizing the President to establish national forests, repealed in 1976) must be controlled and administered, to the extent practical, in accordance with the Act. The Act provides that no national forest may be established except to improve and protect the forest, or to secure favorable conditions of water flows, and to furnish a continuous supply of timber. The Act is not intended to authorize the inclusion within national forests of lands that are more valuable for mineral or agricultural purposes. § 475.

Use and Regulation of National Forests. The Secretary of Agriculture may issue regulations permitting settlers, miners, residents and prospectors the free use of timber and stone in national forests for domestic purposes. The Act permits access to national forests for all lawful purposes, including prospecting and locating and developing mineral resources. Settlers may use land within national forests for schools and churches. Waters within national forest boundaries may be used for domestic, mining, milling or irrigation purposes, as governed by state or federal law. States have civil and criminal jurisdiction over persons within national forests, except for violations of federal law. §§ 477-478 and 479-481.

When you make comments on the Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision, remind the FS what the intended purpose of the National Forests was, and why they were reserved from Public Lands. The Forest Service evidently has forgotten their own Organic Act.

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

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.

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

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 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.