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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20150904

SEPTEMBER 2015 Newsletter
Volume 312

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

I was keeping pretty busy this summer, washing placer gravel on my claim, working in a cleared area, with ponds and pumps and a cat available to build a fire line. But guess what? The Forest Service declared a class IV fire emergency and chased all the miners, like me, out of the hills.

I know how dry it is out there. But in the old days, the Forest Service encouraged loggers and miners to stay in the woods during the summer months so they would be available to fight fire. Loggers, miners, and ranchers, as well as other local people, had a real incentive in seeing the fires put out immediately. The Forest Service also had a good record of putting out fires.

Today, the government spends millions of dollars “monitoring” the fires. They set up massive fire camps, complete with caterers. They bring in \teams of experts\ who know very little about the local area. They \watch\ the fires in the wilderness, and do nothing because it is a \natural process\, until the fire burns out of the wilderness and destroys the adjacent forest lands.

The people in northeast Oregon are tired of mismanagement of our Federal lands. The Federal government must stop its \do nothing\ strategies. Roads have been closed so there is no access to put a fire out while it is small. The woods are not managed. Trees are dead, dying and diseased, and yet there is no logging. Grass grows high and rank because there are no cattle.

We need to all write our Congressmen and tell them the Forest Service does not need increased fire fighting money, what they need is a kick in the rear end to get out and properly manage what little forest they now have left after this fire season.
Your assessment work must be completed by September 1, 2015 and recorded in the county where you work by September 30, 2015. After the form has been recorded, send a copy to BLM along with $10/claim before the end of December.

If you missed the date for sending in your maintenance fee waiver, BLM will void your claim. If this happens, you have no recourse and must file a new location notice. The cost of filing a new 20 acre claim has gone up to $212.

The Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision meetings are on hold due to ongoing wildfires. Contact Peter Fargo, (541) 523-1231, Public Affairs Officer, Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision for more information.

Due to commitments concerning the numerous fires in our area, Tom Montoya, Forest Supervisor for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, was unable to meet with EOMA representatives to discuss the EOMA bonding proposal.

Thus, we are right back where we started. One of our miners has already posted bond through the EOMA bonding program. But instead of notifying this miner that his Plan of Operation is approved, or notifying him that they would not accept his bond, the Forest Service has taken their usual tact and has done nothing. No phone call, no letter, no nothing.

This EOMA bond is not just a \good will\ agreement like our last MOU. We are talking about real dollars here. There is no risk to the government, and other Forest users are able to post third party bonds. BLM has no problem with our EOMA bond program. It is only the Forest Service who has a problem. By all appearances, the Forest Service is discriminating against mine operators. Is it possible they just dont like EOMA?

EOMA is still trying to get the Forest Service to address the need for access in Buck Gulch.
I find it interesting, that the Forest Service wanted to know what roads were being used so the agency could complete their road inventory. The miner informed the Forest Service that road 345 was one of his access roads. Then, without notification, the Forest Service obliterated this road, so that now it is completely undrivable. The only access route available now is down the stream channel, which is soft and side hilly and completely unsatisfactory for the miner, and for that matter, it is completely unsatisfactory for the environment. One of the Forest Service minerals staff informed us that he drove this road segment and found no problems with it, however, the engineering staff said he would not drive down a road that was clearly part of the stream channel. He said he parked on the main road and walked down the creek bed to do his evaluation.
The Waldo Mining District (WMD) and the Galice Mining District (GMD) have retained Portland attorney James Buchal to file suit in federal court to stop the Five (5) Year Moratorium on “all motorized placer mining” in Essential Salmon Habitat (ESH) streams and 100 yards on either side of such streams in Oregon.

The moratorium, as called for in 2013’s Senate Bill 838, is scheduled to begin January 2, 2016, and will be in effect for five years. The moratorium prohibits the use of any motorized (engine, motor or battery driven) placer mining equipment in-stream, and 100 yards to either side measured from the normal high-water mark; statewide, on all federal lands, mining claims, state lands, and even private property in or along all stream segments designated as Essential Salmon Habitat (ESH) (which is about 90% of all gold bearing streams in Oregon), and streams with native populations of lamprey eel or bull trout.

SB 838 gives no reason for the moratorium, (i.e.; no studies are called for). The only exemptions to the moratorium are stream segments not designated as ESH (or lamprey or bull trout habitat) or large-scale operations covered by a DOGAMI permit – effectively prohibiting all motorized placer mining in over 90% of all Oregon streams - FOR NO STATED REASON!

Violation of the moratorium is a “Class A” misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $6,250 and/or up to one year in jail.

The WMD & GMD 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 (and other statutes). 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:

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

EOMA member, Thom Seal, was elected to the East Oregon MMAC Administrative District. Districts are being organized and instituted as \One Voice under MMAC\, unifying the nation-wide Mining Districts as Legal Federal Agents and Federal Stakeholders, under MMAC. If you would like more information on MMAC, visit them online at: www.mmacusa.org

Incredibly, the courts of Oregon again dismissed our lawsuit as moot because the five year permit we were appealing had expired. The Court of Appeals ruled our case as dismissed (moot) due to the 2010 permit expiring. Just like before, they waited us out, even though the 2010 permit will be replaced with the new 2016 permit. What we are appealing now is the dismissal (mootness). If we win, then we either go back to the Court of Appeals to argue again, since at the June hearing, Attorney Buchal argued both our case and the states motion to dismiss, (remember, the court then ruled on the dismissal without addressing any of the issues in our case), or hopefully, instead, we will get to appeal the issues at the Oregon Supreme Court level.

Utah State Representative and Attorney Ken Ivory, who openly advocates the states taking back their public lands, is coming to Baker City. Ken Ivory will be the key note speaker at the Sun Ridge Inn for a no host lunch on Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM, September 12th, 2015 here in Baker City. Come learn the truth about state’s rights in regard to public lands. At statehood, the federal government promised all newly created states that they would transfer title of public lands to the state! Local control is possible and it has been done in many states – why not the western states? Reservations are required as seating is limited. For reservations please call 541-519-5035.

Fred Kelly Grant put together this workshop. Despite the fire situation, with people on the fire lines or evacuating their homes, about 35 people attended the three day session.

\Coordination\ is a government-to-government process whereby the counties, or other governmental bodies such as fire districts, school districts and irrigation districts, can work with the federal agencies on an equal basis, and even require those agencies to be consistent with the policies of that governmental body, such as the Baker County Natural Resources Plan. Speakers talked about their successes using coordination to stop reductions in grazing allotments, reduce numbers of wild horses decimating the range, and stopping road closures. In Texas, through coordination, the citizens of three small towns were able to stop the powerful Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC), a proposed transportation network originally envisioned to be a 4,000-mile network of highways, rail and utility lines, which would have bisected these towns and ruined their economies.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires coordination, so does the National Forest Management Act NFMA) and Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires \Proper consideration of Small Entities (i.e.rural communities and businesses) in Agency Rulemaking\. Even the Travel Management Rule requires \Coordination with Federal State, county and other local governmental entities...\ In addition, the Information Quality Act (IQA) requires federal agencies to publish guidelines for information quality and use peer reviewed science. They dont do this, and must be required by the counties to comply with this act.

So, why have we here in Eastern Oregon allowed the government to run rough-shod over the top of us? I guess the answer to this is we have never had a county chair willing to take on the coordination process. Baker County has tried \cooperation\, where the Forest Service and BLM inform us what they plan to do and all we get to do is \comment\. There have also been \collaboratives\ where members of agencies and environmental groups and industry all sit down and try to find common ground. Snow Mountain is a good example of the results of a collaborative effort. This timber sale is still being litigated by the environmentalists. So much for common ground.

According to Bill Harvey, Baker County Chair, Baker County will be invoking coordination on every road that the Forest Service or BLM wants to close. Each road must be brought to the county, and the federal agency must explain why that road must be closed. The citizens will be involved in any decision to close roads. Maybe, the Buck Gulch road obliteration by the Forest Service, will be the first road that Baker County invokes coordination on.

The recently adopted Natural Resources Plan for Baker County states that Mining Plans of Operation must be approved within one year of the agency receiving a complete plan. The agency must inform the miner and the county if that goal cannot be reached, and they must include a timeframe as to when the plan will be approved. No more simply publishing the Schedule of Proposed Actions (SOPA) and arbitrarily extending the date of approval a year or two each time they publish the SOPA. There must be accountability. Invoking coordination on all the submitted plans in the Powder River Watershed, and those plans pending on Elk Creek and Salmon Creek should be a good first step. NEPA, NMFA and Regulatory Flexibility Act, along with not being consistent with our NRAC Plan, all form the basis for invoking coordination.

The Commissioners cannot do this process on their own. Baker County residents must be ready to step up to the plate and assist the county when needed. The press needs to be involved. Citizens need to write letters to the editor, there must be press releases, and rallies. There are certain authorities that the county Sheriff has over Federal agencies, and assertion of these authorities does not even need to involve coordination. But, it is helpful to have the Sheriff attend coordination meetings with the federal agencies. We have tried every other means to get the federal agencies to do their jobs. Maybe coordination will move things in the right direction.

EPA is still dealing with an embarrassing spill from the Gold King Mine, which was an agency project to reclaim the abandoned mine. Pressure built up behind a pile of debris where a contractor was working, spewing millions of gallons of toxic water into the Animas River and downstream bodies of water. EPA officials say theyre holding themselves to a high standard in trying to correct the damage from the mine spill. Talk about a double standard. If a miner had done this, he would be in jail.
JUDGE BLOCKS EPAS LAND GRAB FOR WATER By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Thursday, August 27, 2015
President Obamas push to extend the EPAs regulatory hand to ditches and small streams to enforce clean water rules was blocked Thursday by a federal judge, who said the administration had overstepped its bounds in trying yet another end run around Congress. Judge Ralph R. Erickson called the Environmental Protection Agencys attempt \inexplicable, arbitrary and devoid of a reasoned process,\ and issued an injunction preventing the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from claiming oversight of millions of acres of land that contain small bodies of water.

The EPA, though, said it will only honor the injunction in the 13 states that had sued, and will move forward with the rules in the rest of the country. \In all other respects, the rule is effective on August 28,\ the agency said in a statement. The agencies are evaluating these orders and considering next steps in the litigation.\

Known as the Waters of the United States — or what critics call WOTUS for short — the new rules have been controversial from the start. The Obama administration said it was trying to clear up confusion after an earlier court decision left it unclear how far the federal Clean Water Act stretched. That law gives the EPA power over \navigable\ waters and any land where water runs off into those waters. But what that meant has been hotly debated.

Last year the administration wrote new definitions that would have subjected all waters within 4,000 feet of a navigable water to EPA review and control. Critics said that would mean the EPA would control lands near ditches with no possible connection to the rivers and lakes that the law was designed to protect. The states that sued said the new rules would create a nightmare scenario of having to get permits and perform environmental studies on every gas or water pipeline, or reclamation or development project. Judge Erickson, who sits in federal district court in North Dakota, said hed looked at all the evidence he could, and couldnt see how the EPA justified the 4,000-foot standard.

\The rule asserts jurisdiction over waters that are remote and intermittent waters. No evidence actually points to how these intermittent and remote wetlands have any nexus to a navigable-in-fact water,\ he wrote.

He said the change in definition was big enough that the administration should have gone through a full public notice and comment period.

Judge Erickson is the latest in a long list of federal judges to rule Mr. Obama overstepped his boundaries in pursuing his domestic agenda.

COUNTY LANDS RESERVED FOR FORESTS- “Probably the greatest single benefit derived by the community and the nation from forest reserves is insurance against the destruction of property, timber resources, and water supply by fire.” …Forest Service 1905 Use Book

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 the newly minted 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.

Gold Cat double sluice high banker with 3.5 hp Briggs and Stratton, 2in pump, 30ft 2in hose, 14ft of 2in suction hose. $1,695 or obo. A mine sluice made out of wood plus a larger sluice about 4ft long out of wood all for $150 obo. Custom made trommel, 5.5hp 2in. pump, 60 ft. 1.5in hose, 12ft suction hose with foot valve $1,695 obo. Call 541-403-4143.

(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. Call 541-526-5998 or gulchgold@yahoo.com

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