Eastern Oregon Mining Association
Eastern Oregon Mining Association
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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20170923

Volume 336

Meetings are held on the first Friday of the month. The next meeting will be Friday, SEPTEMBER 1ST, 2017 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 time for discussing mining and getting to know other miners. The mining season is underway and some people are mining. There should be a story or two. As usual there will be a drawing for a $50 silver medallion at the meeting!

This has been a good mining year for most of us-enough water for processing, and fire danger has not been extreme. BLM will issue fire waivers to miners who want to continue their fire safe operations after 1:00PM. On the National Forest, no waivers have been issued. And to me, this kind of illustrates the main difference between the BLM and the Forest Service. BLM's goal for minerals management is to facilitate the orderly development of mining, and ensure reclamation takes place. The Forest Service's only goal is to protect the environment. Obviously, miners must dig through the surface to get at their private minerals, so mining and Forest Service goals seem to be pretty much at odds.

Forest Service regulations leave decisions about mining up to the "discretion" of the District Ranger. That is why miners are treated differently when they work on other Ranger Districts. Rangers are just people, and if they don't happen to like mining, they can take their time making decisions, and make it difficult and expensive to mine. BLM regulations explain clearly how casual use, Notice and Plan of Operation work can take place. Timeframes are set in stone, both for the miner and for the agency. Occupancy must be reasonably incident to the mining taking place. There are clear criteria that must be met. Miners are treated the same no matter which BLM field office oversees their operations. The Forest Service is unable to administer minerals, they only know how to protect the surface. It is time for BLM to take over all mining administration.
By the time you get this newsletter, time will be running out to get your small miner waiver filed with BLM. If you own ten or fewer claims, you have completed your assessment work (at least $100 per claim), then it's time to send your small miner waiver into BLM. You can wait until the end of December to file your affidavit of annual assessment work with BLM, but the waiver must be filed immediately.

There is no fee for filing the waiver. But if you fail to file, or pay fees, you will lose your claims. By submitting the waiver, you are informing BLM that you will be mining your claims next year. Send your waiver with original signatures to Bureau of Land Management, Oregon State Office, P.O. Box 2965, Portland Oregon, 97208.

Joseph Balash of Alaska has been appointed by President Trump to be the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, Department of the Interior. Mr. Balash currently serves as the Chief of Staff to Senator Dan Sullivan. He is the former Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, which has management responsibility for one of the largest single portfolios of land and water resources in the world. Previously, he served as the Deputy Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources from 2010 to 2013. From 2006 to 2010, he advised two governors on natural resource policy, permitting, and energy. Prior to that, from 1998 to 2006, he served in a variety of legislative staff positions, including Chief of Staff to the President of the Alaska Senate.

In August of 2013, Oregon imposed a moratorium on the use of “any form of motorized equipment for the purpose of extracting gold, silver or any precious metal from placer deposits of the beds or banks of waters of this state…or from other placer deposits, that results in the removal or disturb-ance of streamside vegetation that may impact water quality.” 

In 2015, Oregon miners and mining groups with claims on federal land sued the State, alleging that the moratorium was preempted by federal laws, including the Mining Law of 1872.  On cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court held the ban was not preempted because it “limits only one form of mining, and only in specific areas.”  The court also held that whether the ban made mining “commercially impracticable” was irrelevant; “nothing… makes the cost or practicability of mineral extraction a factor in whether or not a state environmental law is preempted.”
On July 21, 2016, the AEMA filed a friend of the court brief arguing that, in passing the 1872 Mining Law, Congress extended a unilateral offer granting all U.S. citizens and those who declare an intention to become citizens a statutory right to enter onto federal lands to explore for and develop valuable mineral deposits.  Over time, Congress has continued its policy of encouraging development of the Nation’s mineral resources by private enterprise.  By banning all mining using motorized equipment in the beds and banks of state rivers, Oregon has frustrated Congress’s purpose.
Magistrate Sullivan has not addressed the legal issues raised by our lawsuit and has ordered the case to be stayed.  The stay will last until the Ninth Circuit decides the Bohmker case which also involves SB 838 in southwest Oregon. The Ninth Circuit appeal of the Bohmker case is fully briefed and will be scheduled for oral argument in November.  A Decision is expected on the Bohmker case by February or March.

In the meantime, SB 3 has become law which will eliminate any ban on mining in the upland areas when SB 3 goes into effect on January 1, 2018.  However, the ban on suction dredge mining will become permanent.  So our case will still be alive with the sunset of SB 838 and the rise of SB 3.  The state filed a notice about SB 3 and took the position that the lawsuit was still alive but that SB 3 had favorably resolved our upland mining claims. 

Assuming the Oregon Mining Association and other suction dredge miners still want to pursue a challenge to the permanent ban on suction dredge mining, we will amend our complaint to challenge the permanent ban on suction dredge mining, drop the claims involving upland mining, and possibly add a few new plaintiffs who are affected by the SB 3 permanent ban on suction dredge mining.

In the back of this newsletter, you will find tickets for a Keene highbanker, which was donated to EOMA by Thomas Adams of LaGrande to be used as a fundraiser. Tickets are one for $1.00 and 6 for $5.00. This is a nice unit, guaranteed to get you the gold!

The drawing for this piece of equipment will be on December 1, 2017 at the EOMA meeting in Baker City. You do not need to be present to win.

This is the site where you can look up the current IFPL Fire Precaution levels for the forests. Miners have the responsibility of keeping track of the IFPL and conducting operations according to the rules of each IFPL level.

At IFPL Level III, which is where we are now, mining is restricted to the time period 8:00AM to 1:00PM. A one hour fire watch is required after operations cease for the day.
Industrial Fire Precaution Levels
Image Closed Season - Fire precaution requirements are in effect. A Fire Watch/Security is required at this and all higher levels unless otherwise waived.

Image Partial Hootowl - The following may operate only between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. local time:
⦁ power saws except at loading sites;
⦁ cable yarding;
⦁ blasting;
⦁ welding or cutting of metal.

Image Partial Shutdown - the following are prohibited except as indicated:
⦁ cable yarding - except that gravity operated logging systems employing nonmotorized carriages may operate between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. when all blocks and moving lines are suspended 10 feet above the ground except the line between the carriage and the chokers.
⦁ power saws - except power saws may be used at loading sites and on tractor/skidder operations between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. local time.
In addition, the following are permitted to operate between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. local time:
⦁ Tractor, skidder, feller-buncher, forwarder, or shovel logging operations where tractors, skidders, or other equipment with a blade capable of constructing fireline are immediately available to quickly reach and effectively attack a fire start;
⦁ mechanized loading or hauling of any product or material; blasting;
⦁ welding or cutting of metal
⦁ any other spark emitting operation not specifically mentioned.

Image General Shutdown - All operations are prohibited.

The last day of the 2017 Oregon legislative session was July 7, 2017. Over 130 bills were heard and voted on in the last four days of the session. SB 719 allows law enforcement to confiscate guns based on a family member saying someone is mentally unstable and should not retain their firearms. HB 3391 passed without a Republican vote in either the House or the Senate and will cost 10 million dollars for abortion on demand including sex selection abortions, mandating that all health care insurance providers apart from Providence must comply. HB 2391, the provider tax bill, will also raise the cost of health care and those that purchase insurance. The House Democrats passed HB 2060. A tax bill that would have raised $667 million of new taxes on the backs of the smallest of Oregon small businesses. And they did this on a simple majority vote, defying the Oregon Constitution and the vote of the people that requires a 3/5 majority to approve revenue raising bills. Thankfully this measure was killed in the Senate.

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. We sold a lot of coins at Miners Jubilee, and will have them for you to buy at our EOMA meetings.

Eastern Oregon Mining Association now has a Facebook page. For those of you who use Facebook, check it out. For those of you who don't, it may be time to learn!

There is a step by step photo display of a couple of miners who are building trommels. Sign in, and come learn, add your suggestions, and get to know other miners.

There is also a Facebook page for Oregon Mining Association. There is lots of useful information on this site.

It is not hard to become a user of Facebook once you get used to the idea that Facebook “friends” can have a little different meaning than what you may have thought of as “friends” as you were growing up. Facebook certainly gives you the opportunity to share info not
found in the mainstream media.