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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20141001

OCTOBER 2014 Newsletter
Volume 301

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

The meetings are held on the first Friday of the month. The next meeting is Friday, October 3rd 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.

Don Gonzales, BLM District Manager will attend the meeting accompanied by one of the law enforcement officers who works for BLM. Before the officer gives his presentation, Terry Drever-Gee will give a short power point presentation about mining and reclamation at the Bonanza site. It will be an opportunity to ask questions and gain an understanding of the role of BLM law enforcement officers on public lands.

Thank goodness for a little rain to lessen the fire danger. I am amazed at the volume of grass that is not being utilized on National Forests. Stocking the allotments, and using cattle as a management tool to keep the fire danger in check, appears to be a thing of the past. But also a thing of the past will be open access for prospecting in the Forests unless miners stand up and make the Forest Service recognize the importance of leaving the forest open to travel as it traditionally has been since Forest lands were originally reserved for the use of the people.

Eastern Oregon Mining Association members voted to write a letter to Baker and other counties, about the recent maps issued by the Forest Service. The Forest Service wants citizens to comment on their new road maps before November 28, 2014 to see if they \accurately reflect how the Forest Service system roads and motorized trails are being used\. The fact is, it does not matter how the roads and trails are being used today. The point we must make is that the roads and trails on the Forest are all important to Baker County citizens and all should remain available for access and use by the miners of Baker County and by the public who also use the Forest. We are tired of not being listened to. We will not be playing the Forest Services games, and we are not going to do their work of inventorying these roads. We are requesting an open forest with no new road closures. If a road is identified for closure by the Forest Service, they must take that proposal to the county and convince the county and the citizens of the county that the closure is necessary.
The third Appellate Court of California issued a unanimous Decision last week confirming
arguments that a State agency does not have the authority to materially interfere with commercial mining programs on the public lands. The Decision reversed Brandon Rineharts conviction for suction dredging without a permit.

This is a huge win for our side, which should go a long way towards getting California a reasonable set of dredging regulations for the 2015 season and beyond.  It should also help eliminate Oregons moratorium, which is set to begin in 2016.  

Malheur and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests-The not so positive: Here in Unity, we have watched the Bald Sisters fire grow daily, while hundreds of \fire fighters\ sat around and watched it burn. Most nights the valley is inundated with smoke. Now that it has rained, the Forest Service intends to set more fires, only these they call \controlled burns\ instead of \wild fires\. It appears that burning up the woods is their priority these days.

Umatilla National Forest-The positive-There is a good communication level with the minerals administrator and no problems that we have heard about.

Wallowa-Whitman National Forest-the not so positive: The Forest Supervisor has been completely dishonest concerning Forest roads. They tried to ram the Travel Management Plan down our throats when it directly violated NEPA and did not tier to the 1990 Forest Plan. Next they wrote the Blue Mountain Revision, complete with the preferred alternative E in a separate Wallowa-Whitman Forest Plan, which legally could not even be written until a decision was made on the Blue Mountain Revision. The Plan contained recommendations for new and expanded wilderness, non-motorized backcountry, expanded riparian corridors, wildlife corridors, closure of riparian connected roads, elk winter range and restrictions on snowmobile and ATV travel, all of which will close roads needed for prospecting and mining.

Wallowa-Whitman National Forest-the positive: The new geologist for the Forest has been helpful to miners needing to remove selected trees in the path of the mining operations. Communication is improving at this level.
Baker Field Office BLM-the positive-The Environmental Assessment on the Paul Ada Plan of Operation on Clarks Creek is nearing completion and will soon be out to the public for comment. The field surveys have begun on the Don J, but there is much work to do on this Plan. The True #1 has had some surveys completed, since this site is adjacent to the Paul Ada claim, but again, there is much work to do.
Vale District Office BLM-the not so positive-Haneys experienced a law enforcement problem, unrelated to mining at their site, and were unable to get a law enforcement officer to respond to their calls. In addition, the office would not provide a phone number where they could contact an officer. Field Manager Lori Wood finally did provide them the information they needed, but access to, and assistance from, law enforcement was completely unavailable to them.
Miners in the North Fork Burnt River watershed are reminded that they must close their access roads with a berm, a tree across the road or a gate when they leave for the season. After final reclamation, 3\ of certified weed-free straw are to be placed over the seeded area. This is not required for interim reclamation, only when you are through mining. Also, those miners with approved plans of operation who did not mine this season, need to inform the Forest Service in writing as to when mining will resume.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced this week that it has placed on hold its consideration of a ODSL permit sought by Ambre Energy subsidiary Coyote Island Terminals, LLC’s to allow construction of a coal shipping terminal facility on the Columbia River at the Port of Morrow near Boardman, Ore.

The proposed Port of Morrow facility needs a removal-fill permit from the state agency for:
 (1)Construction staging;
(2) In-water work area isolation;
(3) Construction of an elevated, fixed dock and conveyor system which includes four, two-pile dock supports, as well as concrete capped conveyor supports;
(4) Construction of an elevated, fixed-operation walkway with 12 supports, each consisting of two 14-inch diameter round steel piles, for workers mooring and loading barges, and
(5) Construction of nine multi-pile structures (dolphins) installed adjacent to the walkway for vessel mooring.
The permit application proposed 572 cubic yards of permanent fill (in the form of pilings) in the Columbia River on submerged land owned by the Port of Morrow.
In denying the project proponent’s request for a removal-fill permit, the ODSL determined that the project described in the application would unreasonably interfere with the paramount policy of this state to preserve the use of its waters for navigation, fishing and public recreation. While the project as described would not interfere with navigation or public recreation, it would interfere with fishing.
Initially, one four-barge tow per day would move down the Columbia River, shipping 3.5 million metric tons of coal per year to trade allies such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, the company says. At full capacity, barge tows will increase to two per day with expected shipment of 8 million metric tons per year.
In its appeal, Ambre said the ODSL decision was not based on the pertinent facts. “Because that bulk commodity is coal, it is a process that the state of Oregon does not support politically,” the Ambre appeal says. “Instead of fairly evaluating Coyote Island Terminal’s application, DSL chose to base its decision on factors that far exceed the scope of analysis DSL has previously engaged in, improperly elevating special interests above long-standing, statutorily preferred port industrial uses. In doing so, DSL exceeded its lawful authority while ignoring its legal obligations. The decision must be reversed.”

The 838 Study Group met again on September 11, 2014. Dennis Griffin, Ph.D., State Archaeologist, State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), gave a presentation on cultural resources. On Federal Lands: Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, amended through 2000; National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969; Archaeological and Resource protection Act (ARPA) and Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) of 1990. On USFS managed lands miners must check with the local District Ranger or Archaeologist and on BLM lands check with the District Manager or Archaeologist if your activities may impact an area of cultural significance.

The majority of the meeting dealt with the working draft proposal put forward by the 838 Task Force (comprised of agency personnel) at the August meeting, and after receiving one round of comments via email from the group members. Although it took some doing, the group actually took a vote and agreed on one (1) item (our first and only!).The suggestion by Lt. D. Gifford to allow for issuing citations (similar to a traffic ticket) rather than being forced to make all infractions a “violation” (requiring the AGs office, courts, lawyers, public defenders, etc.) was approved unanimously by the Study Group.

Another aspect of SB 838 calls for the posting of Permit Numbers on all motorized mining equipment. This provision came from a request by the Oregon State Police (OSP), who are having trouble identifying who owns and/or is running what dredge or equipment and whether that person has a current permit. OSP wants clearly visible Permit Numbers displayed on equipment (such as dredges) so they can sit in their cars or stand on the bank and read the number and then check it against the permit holders to determine who owns or is running the equipment. It was suggested that DEQ, or the agency issuing the permits, supply the signage (such as on a piece of Plexiglas) so that they would be waterproof and uniform in a manner approved by OSP. The group will take this under advisement.

During earlier meetings the Mining Caucus has mentioned such topics as the 1872 Mining Law and the property rights granted by Congress under that Act. For the most part, this information coming from miners has been ignored, until now. What has changed is that the representatives from the USFS and BLM have “hinted” that the state cannot prohibit mining on federal public lands open to mining under the Mining Law. How this plays out is anybody’s guess – but it is a good sign.

Other than that, the group discussed most of the other items in the draft proposal but with little to no major agreement on anything. One item mentioned was how SB 838 calls for examining how to simplify the permit process, including possible “one-stop shopping”. It was pointed out that so far, all proposals involve more and more information be collected by even more agencies, Individual Permits, higher fees, public involvement in the issuing of Individual Permits, possible extensive time delays, etc.; and that currently one could obtain any of the required permits (i.e.; DEQ’s 700PM for Instream Mining, DEQ’s WPCP for onshore disposal of water, and DSL’s GA for operations within ESH, all within a single day! Having the government say they want to simplify something is akin to them saying “we’re here to help you….”.

Mentioned several times by the greens was that any future permit must have fees high enough to pay for all this new state scrutiny (including more monitoring, enforcement and public education). During these discussions it was asked “How many permits (for dredging) has DEQ issued this year?” The DEQ spokesperson responded “About 400”, which is down from 1,831 permits issued in 2013, 1,941 permits in 2012, 1,385 in 2011, and a high of 1,984 issued in 2004.) When asked how many of the 850 GA’s SB 838 allowed the Dept. of State Lands (DSL) to issue for mining within Essential Salmon Habitat (ESH), the rep. from DSL said “Just under the 850”. What’s interesting about this is DEQ’s 700PM permit is required for all In-Water Work… while DSL’s GA is only required for operating within ESH. Compare the numbers of permits and GA’s issued: nearly 400 permits by DEQ, but nearly 850 by DSL. Obviously, miners wanted to see if they could get the free permit, but were unwilling to pay the $150 surcharge DEQ required.

The Mining Caucus renewed their attempt to get a consensus to remove all “Upland Mining” from the effects of SB 838, however, the fate of upland mining is still up in the air. Interestingly, the five year moratorium on all motorized placer mining in Oregon, scheduled to begin on January 2, 2016, has yet to be discussed. Our last Study Group meeting will be October 9, 2014.

Mark your calendars for the afternoon of Monday, October 27, for the next Round Table meeting in the Baker County Courthouse Council Chambers. Representatives from Baker County, EOMA, Forest Service and BLM will be present. Some of our past discussion topics included timeframes for when Plans of Operation will be approved, how consultation with USFW and National Marine Fisheries Services is progressing, why the Forest Service SOPA is so inaccurate. We will discuss how effective the communication between the agencies and the miners is, what is going well, what needs improvement. Send me your concerns and any additional topics you would like to see discussed. The public is welcome to attend these Round Table discussions, and members of the public will have an opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns to the agencies.
Come out to the Baker County Fairgrounds (Old Armory) on October 25th at 6:00pm. FAFA will have all 19 of the Forest Service subpart A maps. Each map has been enlarged to 36x48 in. to make them easier to view. These maps will be on display for the public to view. The Blue Mountain Revision Document refers to “designated roads” as the open roads , all others will be roads that will be closed, gated or otherwise taken out of the road system. The public needs to be made aware that much of our road system that we have used for years is on the chopping block. The Forest Service Supervisor John Laurence wants people to go online and mark the roads that they use and know about. The Forest Service won’t hold any public meeting on roads or listen to how road closures will affect the communities or the economy of residents surrounding these forest system roads. This will be the only opportunity for you to look at maps of your forest roads and hear from John George and other FAFA members about what the Forest Services intent is on their upcoming Travel Management Plan. FAFA’s regular meeting is set for October 4th at 3:30 pm at the Sun Ridge Restaurant-come hear the latest information on road closures.
EPA – CORPS WETLANDS JURISDICTION REGULATIONS Information From American Land Rights Association-Chuck Chase
Among the list of bills that are about to be introduced or already have, is the new expanded Clean Water Act. The EPA is or has introduced legislation to greatly expand the Federal jurisdiction of the waters of the United States. They are trying to remove the word navigable from the Clean Water Act. They want everything; waters below the surface, creeks, rivers, streams and even intermittent streams that carry snow run off. The rules are, if the water could get into any streams, then EPA would have jurisdiction. The ramifications of this act could affect cattle ranchers, farmers fertilizing crops, county spraying weeds and conceivably you fertilizing your garden or yard. Even cities municipal water systems. Going through the Blue Mountain Revision document, one could see that the Forest Service was gearing up for the passage of the Clean Water Act revision. The economic and social implications of this act are enormous. A massive loss of jobs will be the result of these proposed Clean Water amendments.

Also coming up are Obama’s National Monuments, with CARA type Land Acquisition Trust Funds being considered. And we have two more years. The scary part will be after the November elections; that’s when President Obama will use Executive Orders to fulfill his agenda.

Several weeks ago Conservative New Zealander, Trevor Louden, visited Baker City and talked to a small dinner crowd at the Sun Ridge Inn here in Baker City. Trevor’s concern for the direction that America is taking, prompted him to come to America and do what he can to change the direction of America. When asked why a New Zealander was so concerned about America, he said “America is the last bastion of freedom and free enterprise, when you’re gone so are we.” Trevor admitted he was raised a Communist in New Zealand and had seen first-hand just what the socialist agenda did for New Zealand. Trevor emphasized that this was probably the last chance Americans had in the upcoming elections to take control of our destiny. He also stressed that this was also the Republican’s last chance to win Congress and the White House. If we can’t or won’t take the time to vote in people that will adhere to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, it will be all over. He gave the blue print for a Republican take over in 2016.

His dream team, if implemented, had something for everybody. (I am not sure that this is in order but…) Ted Cruz for President; Allan West for Vice President; John Bolton, for Secretary of State, dismantle the United Nations; Tray Gowdy, for the Department of Justice; Lisa Murkowski, for the Secretary of Interior; Paul Ryan, for the Secretary of the Treasury, and turn him loose on the Fed.; Sara Palin, for the Department of Energy, you remember the “drill baby drill” girl. Let her drive the energy costs down to a dollar a gallon.

Trevor Louden went on to say that the Obama White House advisors are left-leaning socialists and communists. Obama has replaced much of the leadership in the agencies with people that have socialist leanings, including Forest Service, and BLM with like minded people. Much of the Congress in both Houses are liberal socialists and vote lock step with the Obama Doctrine.
The next few years will be critical for the people of America, we must rally and vote out the liberals destroying out county and way of life. Get out and VOTE!!

GRANITE EIS-Jan Alexander
Jeff Tomac and Robert Macom have informed me that the Granite Mining Project Draft EIS is currently going through internal review and is expected to be released for a 45-day public comment period late fall/early winter. This is good news for miners in this watershed who are looking forward to mining next summer.

Utahs State Representative, Ken Ivory, spoke to Baker and Union County citizens who are concerned about the current level of management (mis-management) of our public lands. Ken Ivory is president of the nonprofit American Lands Council, and is spreading the word that Oregon should join Utah and other western states in their efforts to transfer the Public Lands to the states. Besides being a Representative, Ken is also an attorney, and has studied the law extensively in the area of Constitutional Law and also has studied American history. He believes the Federal government has stopped honoring the terms of the states original enabling acts-the agreements under which statehoods were formed. Public lands were there for disposal or sale. Ken stated, \Rights we dont know or exercise are no better than rights we dont have\.

Citizens at the meeting related the terrible effects on rural communities from the Forest Service not managing the lands. Curtailing logging has led to closure of all Baker County mills, and the decline of our logging industry. Citizens talked about the effect of wildfires, where burned trees are never logged. They talked about vacant cattle allotments, covered with tinder dry grass just waiting to burn.

A question was asked as to whether the National Forest lands, which are in far worse shape from a management standpoint than BLM lands, would be eligible for transfer, since the Forests were legally \reserved\ from the public lands. There was no answer to this question. There was also a question about what would happen to private property rights in the minerals if these lands were transferred. Again, Ken had no answer.

It would stand to reason that Oregon, a state that is broke, would want the public lands so they could make some money and support our roads and schools. However, Oregon does not like resource users, particularly miners. Read the article in this newsletter about how Oregon views the mining and transport of coal as being \politically incorrect\, look what our state did to miners with SB838. So, I am somewhat doubtful that the current State administration would have my best interests at heart if they did have the opportunity to manage the public lands. However, if State control of public lands would lead to county control, that I would be in favor of!

NGOs now regularly sue the government and private citizens to force policy. They have their legal fees and even damage awards paid to them out of the government treasury. Through a coordinated process, hundreds of NGOs are at work in Congress, in every state government and in every local community, advancing some component of the global environmental agenda. Few elected officials raise an eyebrow. The media makes no mention of it. Power is slowly slipping away from our elected representatives. More can be found at: www.americanpolicy.org


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.

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.

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.

These claims are located upstream from the patented Dooley Placer. Several new operations are starting up on Clarks Creek, both on patented lands and on BLM. These three claims, Iron Spoon, Lucky Dream, and Blue Trigger have plenty of virgin ground available. They were mined by the old timers with hand tools but were not dredged by the bucket line dredges which mined Clarks Creek in 1924, because the dredge capsized at Clarksville and could not continue upstream.

Great reference for family histories. This collection of maps, pictures and articles details the history of upper Burnt River. Has excellent maps that specify homestead locations, old town sites, early day roads and trails. Has sections with pictures and descriptions of early day logging, agriculture, and, of course, mining. It also includes some accounts and pictures of recent mining activity of the area. Much of the historical material is from family histories of people who still live there and are descendants of original homesteaders. This is a quality, hard-bound 586 page book with an index of over 5,000 names of people who are mentioned in the book. $59.95 + $8.00 SHIPPING See the EOMA website or call Ken Alexander 541-446- 3413