Eastern Oregon Mining Association
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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20151115

NOVEMBER 2015 Newsletter
Volume 314

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

Meetings are held on the first Friday of the month. The next meeting will be Friday, NOVEMBER 6TH 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.

This is a must attend meeting to let the FS know you want to be able to access your forest and not have more land locked away as wilderness. You will not be able to experience the use of your forest the way it has been for over a hundred years if you don’t express your desire to have open access to the forest. Don’t let them get away with blanket road closings. Meeting is at the La Grande Armory 404 12th street.
With grey clouds overhead, and a stiff wind blowing, I finished up our interim reclamation, got the equipment hauled out, and Jan finished seeding, just before it rained. The site is stable and will look great next spring when the grass begins to grow. This summer, we used the trommel to classify the pay gravels into two different sizes so we could more efficiently capture the fine gold. The downside was that the use of two separate sluice boxes doubled the work of cleanup. At any rate, we still have some buckets of concentrates to clean up here at home, and both the trommel and feeder are in need of repairs. Such is the life of a miner. It always is a letdown when our mining is through for the season. Heres hoping for plenty of moisture this winter, and an early mining season next spring!

Everyone needs to be more informed about how your elected representatives vote when they make decisions on bills. Too often voters don’t know what their representatives are actually doing as they go about their business of passing laws. A helpful website that makes it easy to track the record of your elected representatives is https://www.govtrack.us/

Bill Harvey, Chairman of the Baker County Commissioners, has talked to Forest Service District Ranger, Jeff Tomac, who authorized the \reclamation\ work by contractors, which inadvertently obliterated access into the Buck Gulch mining claims. Jeff has been involved with the salvage logging after the recent fires, and has not been out to look at the present access that goes right up the bed of the creek. Bill will meet with Forest Service engineering staff to see what can be done to repair this segment of an RS2477 (County) road so the miners in Buck Gulch will again have an environmentally sound access route.

The Federal House of Representatives in October approved legislation that would encourage efficiency and speed up regulatory approval of mining operations for gold, silver, copper and other \strategic and critical\ minerals. The lone Republican from Oregon, Rep. Greg Walden, voted for the bill, all of Oregon’s other representatives, all Democrats, voted against it.
Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., who introduced the bill, said a 30-month time limit on the approval process as well as limits on judicial review are needed to ensure that new mining operations can get to work providing a domestic source of minerals that are needed for everything from computer chips to concrete.
The bill is strongly opposed by the Obama administration, which issued a statement earlier this week saying it would undermine sound federal decision-making by eliminating appropriate reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act.
The bill was approved, 254-177, largely along party lines. No Republican opposed it, while eight Democrats — including Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev. — voted in favor. It now goes to the Senate, where approval is doubtful.

This project is a huge step in the right direction wherein the Forest Service is proposing to log and thin the mess of diseased, overcrowded, dead and dying timber along the east face of the Elkhorn Mountains in Baker and Union Counties. The preferred alternative for the Forest Service is Alternative 2, but Alternative 5 would remove and treat a lot more area. My concern is that there was no geologist on the list of EA preparers, and the project plans to obliterate 38.5 miles of existing road. The Forest Service says these roads are not needed. The maps are lousy, as usual, the sections are not identified so it is impossible to run an LR2000 query to see how many miners will have their access destroyed. Bill Harvey, County Commission Chair, has stated that each of these roads proposed to be obliterated must be coordinated with Baker County. We too must help with this. Miners need to write the Forest Service, commend them for trying to do the right thing for once and getting the East Face area logged, but informing them that we need access in the National Forest, and obliterating 38.5 miles of road is not acceptable.

The address for your letter is: Joshua White, Acting District Ranger, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, La Grande Ranger District, 3502 Highway 30, La Grande, Oregon 97850.

Sage grouse hunting will be allowed, but mining is prohibited. The BLM notice commences a two-year temporary segregation period, prohibiting location and entry of new mining claims on BLM and U.S. Forest Service lands in these sagebrush focal areas to protect sage grouse habitat. If the BLM decides to withdraw the area at the end of the segregation period, the withdrawal will last up to 20 years, but could be extended in the future. The proposed withdrawal area covers approximately 10 million acres.

In addition to prohibiting the location of new mining claims, existing mining claims within the proposed withdrawal area will be impacted. Prior to approving a plan of operations for such a claim during the two-year segregation, the BLM may require the preparation of a mineral examination report at the miner’s expense to determine whether the mining claim is valid (i.e., whether, at the time of the segregation, a valuable mineral deposit had been discovered that a reasonable person would make further efforts to develop into a mine, and whether such mine has a reasonable prospect of profitability). If this requirement is not satisfied, the BLM will move to terminate the mining claim. The mining claim validation process becomes mandatory if the proposed withdrawal is approved.

Comments on the proposed withdrawal application or scoping comments on issues to be analyzed in the EIS must be received by December 23, 2015. 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

I have spoken with Rich Angstrom of OMA and Scott Horngren, an attorney for Western Resources Legal Center, concerning SB838. Scott teaches half-time for Western Resources Legal Center. He and I became acquainted some years ago, when BLM law enforcement filed a complaint against me with the State for practicing geology without a license. As a lot of you may remember, Scott successfully defended me against that accusation.

The Center is involved with students at Lewis and Clark Law School who are interested in representing farmers, ranchers, miners, and timber folks in natural resource cases. They are taking on the defense of upland miners in Oregon who will be affected by the SB838 moratorium. Western Resources Legal Center is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) and they do not bill attorney’s fees.  Thus, EOMA is not soliciting donations for this lawsuit, although we are profoundly grateful to Scott for taking this on, and to Rich Angstrom for coordinating the effort. Scott and his students are in the process of preparing a complaint and their initial thoughts are to file in state court in Baker or Grant County.

The state is imposing a ban on the practice of suction dredge mining in the interest of protecting salmon, while miners, who insist in a federal lawsuit that their efforts don’t harm wildlife, say the state lacks the authority to stop them and have filed a lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed in federal District Court in Medford on Monday, October 26, 2015, names the State of Oregon, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and former Director of the Oregon Department of State Lands Mary Abrams, and contends the prohibition is pre-empted by at least seven federal laws dating back to the Mining Acts of 1866, and by federal regulations.

“Dredging is important to many small, rural Oregon communities that have suffered a long line of economic attacks based on environmentalist propaganda and outright lies,” James Buchal, an attorney representing the plaintiffs told FoxNews.com. “We trust that the federal court will join every other court that has recognized that states lack power to ban mining on federal land.” “It is really the only effective way to get the gold,” stated Shannon Poe, American Mining Rights Association. Part of the plaintiffs’ argument is that the state does not have jurisdiction to impose a ban on mining on federal property.

Unlike the lawsuit Western Resources Legal Center will be filing for the upland miners, attorney fees must be paid for the suction dredge lawsuit.

At the September EOMA meeting, the Board made the decision to donate $500 to the Oregon Moratorium Fund. Scott Guthrie also pledged $500, and challenged miners to match his contribution. A big thank you to all miners who have contributed to this fund. The Board asks other miners to join the fight for suction dredge mining in Oregon by sending money for the fight against SB838. The Waldo Mining District and Galice Mining District believe the moratorium violates rights granted to all citizens under the federal 1872 Mining Law; and is in direct conflict with the National Mining & Mineral Policy Act of 1970. The WMD & GMD need the help and support of all Oregon miners in the form of donations to help fund this litigation. Checks can be made out to “OREGON MORATORIUM FUND”. Donations can be sent directly to either:

Waldo Mining District James Buchal
P.O. Box 1574 Murphy & Buchal
Cave Junction, OR 97523 3425 SE Yamhill Street, Suite 100
Portland, OR 97214

EOMA BONDING-Jan Alexander
So far we have not heard from Tom Montoya concerning EOMA members using EOMA bond fund monies to post reclamation bonds for their mining operations. I guess no news is good news. Please contact Jan Alexander of EOMA if you are interested in working through EOMA on bonding.

Ken and I met with Jeff Tomac on October 9, 2015, to discuss problems miners were having with his staff and to understand why correspondence and phone calls are not being answered. Jeff informed us that Wade drafts letters in response to correspondence addressed to the ranger, but he has no timeframe to accomplish this task. Jeff said he would consider imposing a timeframe.

We discussed the fact that Wade does not like having me as agent, and actually told some miners that he would work with them if they got rid of me as their agent. We also discussed the fact that it appears that Plans of Operation were not being processed. We submitted an EOMA FOIA to find out what Plans of Operation Wade Krist is working on, when these plans were received by the Forest Service and we requested copies of all correspondence that resulted from Plan submittal. Jeff assured us that he would meet with his staff and get to the bottom of any problems. Results of the FOIA will be made available in our December newsletter.

We talked briefly about the need for direction on how Plans and mining operations can be taken over by a new owner/operator. We also talked about leasing claims. During an earlier meeting with Tom Montoya, Tom informed us that Jeff would get back to us with a written policy on how Plans of Operation can be transferred to another operator, and how to handle bonding and how to handle the Plan when operations are leased to another miner. Tom agreed that this written policy will help Forest Service staff and will also help the miners understand the procedure. Jeff did say at our meeting on October 9 that he would find out some answers for us, but to date, we have heard nothing.

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. Do a search for Eastern Oregon Mining Association on Facebook and it should come up.

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, 2013 and 2014 medallions along with 2015s. 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.

(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

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