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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20121005

OCTOBER 2012 Newsletter
Volume 277

President.....................Ken Alexander......................541-446-3391 Executive Director........Chuck Chase....................... 541-523-3285 Director of Governmental Affairs..Terry Drever Gee..541-523-6228 Editors....Chuck Chase ……541-523-3285
...and.….Jan Alexander.......541-446-3413
Mineral Policy Director........Jan Alexander................541-446-3413
EOMA INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.h2oaccess.com/

The meetings are held on the first Friday of the month. The next meeting is Friday, Oct. 5th 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.

It always gets a little busy trying to get things put in order before the season is shut down due to cold weather. There are some very important things happening in the EOMA, as well as in the rest of the world. Appeals are due on the NFBR SEIS by October 22nd. If you don’t appeal the unreasonable requirements being mandated for miners, you will likely be stuck with them no matter where you want to mine in the future. (See two related articles in this newsletter.) The suction dredge lawsuit filed against DEQ is progressing, even though lots of roadblocks have been put in the way by the well-funded environmental groups. We are going to need some strong support from everyone to ensure that we don’t run out of money before we are able to reach a conclusion. This lawsuit will have an effect on all miners, not just suction dredge miners. We are also getting some attention from our State and Federal legislators who realize that mining is necessary and contributes a valuable benefit to the economy. Don’t sit back and wait for someone else to do the required work. Your time, money, and effort is going to make the difference in whether or not the individual and small miner succeeds in preserving his/her right to develop the valuable mineral deposits and provide our nation with real wealth.
Jeff Tomac, Baker District Ranger, came to our last meeting with information about the North Fork Burnt River Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (NFBR SEIS). We thank him for coming to our meeting and answering questions about the process.
About 50 people packed into the Forest Service Compound meeting room on 11th street here in Baker City. People kept coming in all during the meeting, which lasted about an hour. During the meeting while Kevin Martin gave his introductory speech, the crowd was quiet. Then he turned it over to questions and answers, even though there were very pointed questions about the Travel Management Plan (TMP) the Forest Supervisor kept on smiling. As he went down each row, person by person, people asked pointed questions, or more times than not, people made statements to the Supervisor.
Handicapped veterans said they need the solitude of the mountains and asked why they were being singled out by the closure.
Miners reminded him that our lawyers had assured us that we had a statutory right to go to and from our mines, and that we had access for exploration without a special use permit. The cattlemen reminded Kevin that they were going to keep checking on their cows using quads. They also were insistent on being able to take care of their ditches and head gates using whatever means they needed. They were also insistent that they did not need any permit for access and that they had a statutory right to use a quad to check on their cows and water. All in all, the new forest supervisor got a welcome, as well as a declaration that access was important to the people in this area.

EOMA President, Ken Alexander, Executive Director, Chuck Chase, and Governmental Affairs Director, Terry Drever Gee, met with Acting Forest Supervisor Kevin Martin, BLM District Manager, Don Gonzales, and Baker County Commission Chairman, Fred Warner, at the Quarterly Round Table Meeting. Bobbie Danser took notes on the meeting.
The goals and accomplishments of the past year were reviewed, bringing new members Ken Alexander and Kevin Martin up to date. The group is exploring the best ways to communicate with miners on such subjects as how to stake a claim. The group hopes come up with a good way to point out some of the differences in the rules between the Forest Service and BLM. Further discussion involved problems and possible solutions to timely approval of plans of operations and how to promote reasonable and consistent reclamation bonding.
There are some personnel changes in the works. Meg Doolittle, currently working in minerals on the National Forest, is transferring to the BLM. Kirk Rentmeister lead geologist for the BLM will be leaving for another job in Wyoming. There is a current search by both agencies for people qualified to work in minerals to fill the vacant positions.
The next Roundtable meeting will be sometime early next year. Miners that are having problems with Forest Service or BLM personnel should bring them to the attention of Ken Alexander or a board member. If you have positive experiences with agency personnel be sure and also share this with Ken Alexander or a board member.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT LAST MONTH – National Mining Association
To better help explain the inefficient U.S. permitting process, Minerals Make Life developed a short video that describes the issue. This video can be found on the Minerals Make Life website at: http://mineralsmakelife.org/
If you missed the meeting at the Geiser Grand Hotel Saturday the 22nd, you missed a real treat. James is one of the top notch speakers on States Rights and the legalities of where Oregon has been headed in the last thirty years or so. Under the Democratic leadership, we have a diminished economy along with rampant incompetency and corruption at the highest levels in our state government. James pointed out, if elected, the buck would stop with him, and some of these career slick politicians would go up the river. A case in point is with how DEQ has treated miners in Oregon on the permitting of turbidity.
James said he has a message for you. It is plain and simple. Vote Republican, Vote James Buchal for Attorney General of Oregon.

The precipitation we received over the weekend was evidently enough to improve conditions to the point where the Forest Service has reduced the IFPL level. According to Meg Doolittle of the Forest Service, “Effective immediately, the IFPL level is reduced to a level III”. Between the hours of 8:00PM and 1:00PM miners can again operate heavy equipment, generators and pumps. Miners wanting to work all day should call the District Ranger, Jeff Tomac, and request a waiver. Before you make that call, read the next article to be sure your operation is fire safe.

Specific fire prevention measures are required from April 1 to October 31 of each year. These requirements must be met in order to receive a waiver to work all day.
First, all power-driven equipment operated on NFS lands, except portable fire pumps, shall be equipped with one fire extinguisher having a UL rating of at least 5 BC, and one \D\ handled or longhandled, round-point shovel size \0\ or larger.
Each truck and passenger-carrying vehicle shall be equipped with a double-bit axe or Pulaski, 3½ pounds or larger. Equipment shall be kept in a serviceable condition and shall be readily available.
Spark Arresters and mufflers are required or equipment must be equipped with a turbine-driven exhaust supercharger such as the turbocharger. There shall be no exhaust bypass.

Remember too, that a one hour fire watch is required after equipment is shut down for the day.

All Plans of operation must have fire plans and hazardous materials plans attached to them. (H3. Before commencing operations, operator shall provide a Hazardous Substances Plan. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) must be on site.F1. Fire Plan - Before starting any operations, the mine operator shall prepare a fire plan). If you do not have these two plans and/or MSDS sheets, contact me and we can get the two plans filed. I can provide MSDS for all “hazardous materials” you use in the operation.

Louis F. Hill from Arden Hills, Minnesota has donated to the Oregon Miners Legal Fund. We really do value your generosity and your continued support of the Mining Association. Thank you Louis, we definitely appreciate your support over the years.......
Two weeks ago our lawyer started depositions of three employees of DEQ. We are now going through the transcripts to determine what evidence will support our complaint. During the questionings, James Buchal, our lawyer, asked questions about turbidity and its effects on fish and the environment. DEQ’s answers were always about the negative effects, so James asked them if they had reviewed any studies that showed the positive effects and balanced their views in the permit for suction dredging based on the net results. They were surprised that there were any positive effects. Some positive effects are the fact that the suspended sediment carries a replenishment of nutrients which support fish and other biota. Another one is the study which found that the survival rate of young fish fared better in turbid water, because predation by larger fish was somewhat more limited; however, none of the fish lost weight, because they hunted other food sources rather than each other.

All employees of DEQ in the depositions were asked about the State statute that provides the use of the waters in the State for mining purposes as a \beneficial use\ and a \public necessity\ and none of them have either read the statute or considered that suction dredge mining was a beneficial use or a public necessity. There are lots more items that are still being reviewed.
We are also addressing the suction dredge permitting problem through the Legislature. Tom Kitchar, President of Waldo Mining District and I have written a request to Cliff Bentz for two Bills to be presented to the legislature. They are currently being reviewed and written by the legislative counsel. I understand that the first reading of the Bills will not be until February 2013.

We are asking for 1) a Bill or legislative directive that will not allow DEQ to spend any budgetary funds on renewing the 700PM permit and to lock this permit in place until EOMA’s case gets reviewed by the Oregon Supreme Court. In the past, while we were waiting for the hearing, DEQ issued the new 2010 permit and convinced the Court that our appeal was moot because they had a new permit in place and the 2005 permit went away.

Although the legislature had a new directive in the statutes that allowed “repeated” issues against state agencies to continue, we were mooted anyway. So now, we have had to file again, but since DEQ issued the 2010 permit as an order, the statutes require us to start in the Circuit Court instead of the Court of Appeals for review of our complaints against this permit. This puts our case farther from the Supreme Court, because any appeals must go to the Court of Appeals first.

The second Bill, 2) is an amendment to ORS 517.125, which requires consultation with the affected parties of recreational and small-scale mining on permitting based on rule changes. We are asking that the term “orders” be added. We also put in a stipulation that if the affected parties are not consulted at least 30 days before a draft is released to the public, then the new rule or order becomes void.
THE ‘SUE AND SETTLE’ STRATEGY USED BY EPA by Bill Wilson (Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government)
(Note by editor: This is the same tactic NEDC used against DEQ in the Suction Dredge Permit lawsuit, bypassing the court system and getting what they wanted).
Under the Obama Administration, the EPA has taken the habit of entering into “sue-and-settle” arrangements with radical fringe groups. This is where an organization sues the EPA demanding that they enforce the law in a new, expanded way.
The EPA then enters into a consent decree with the party, which is signed by a judge without review, since the two disputing parties are in “agreement.” Suddenly, the EPA’s power under, say, the Clean Air Act or the Clean Water Act has been expanded dramatically.
Does that sound like the normal process for a bill becoming law? This process completely takes Congress and the Presidency out of the equation. It is that easy. And it is becoming more widespread.
In June, holding a hearing on the matter, Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Technology, Rep. James Lankford noted, “In the past 3 years, the Administration has concluded approximately 60 settlements with special interest — 29 of these agreements bound EPA to make major policy changes.  The plaintiffs in these cases are often the very same reoccurring players — the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Defenders of Wildlife, Wild Earth Guardians, and Center for Biological Diversity.”
You can read more at NetRightDaily.com: http://netrightdaily.com/2012/09/is-the-epa-superagency-bigger-than-the-president-and-congress/#ixzz26vAP3610

The federal government owns and controls 53% of the land in Oregon and grievously mismanages most of it. An organization, Give Us Our Land Back, has launched an effort to get the federal government to transfer all federal land in the state to Oregon counties.
The organizers have prepared a petition to De-Federalize Oregon Lands and to Return Public Land Ownership Rights to the Charted Counties of Oregon. The Petition is directed to Congress. There are some glaring examples of federal mismanagement of public lands:
* Timber harvesting has shrunk 93%.
* Locked gates have been erected, roads torn out and entry prohibited to the people of Oregon.
* Taxpayers are paying more than $5 billion for the net costs of the Us Forest Service’s “management” of its land.
While there is little prospect that Congress will enact legislation to cede federal land to local communities, this is a good way to increase public awareness of the shameful mismanagement of federal lands. Oregonians In Action is urging everyone to sign the Petition. The Petition can be viewed on the website giveusourlandback.org and people can sign the Petition on the website. You can also obtain petitions by calling 541-223-5764.
Anyone who plans to mine anywhere on the Wallowa Whitman, Malheur, or Umatilla National Forests, needs to look at the NFBR SEIS. It is almost a certainty that you will see these general requirements in all of the future plans of operations wherever they may be located.
The easiest way to look at this five hundred page piece of work is to get a disk if you have a computer, or get a hard copy from the WWNF Baker Ranger District. It also can be found on line at : http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/fs-usda-pop.php/?project=18925
Appendix 2 starting at page 267 has the General Requirements for Plans of Operations Included in Alternative 4 These are the requirements everyone needs to review. Miners who have a claim on the NFBR also need to find out the exact requirements that have been mandated for your particular situation. Some of them may make your project economically unfeasible. It has taken six years for them to analyze and write down every possible effect you may have on the environment. You have until October 22nd to review this 500+ page document to see what they have said you must do. Some of the restrictions they have come up with clearly do not seem reasonable. This is your one opportunity to appeal these decisions. It will be cheaper to get some reasonable requirements now than going to court. Besides, if you don’t appeal now, you will not have standing to go to court later.
Many of the restrictions mandated in this document will be applied to miners still waiting for authorization of their operating plans on the Upper Powder, Lower Powder, Granite, and the North Fork of the John Day. EOMA can help you with the appeal format. The last day to appeal the restrictions is October 22nd. Send your appeals to the Forest Service ………….and please send a copy to Ken Alexander e-mail alxk@ortelco.net If you have questions do not hesitate to call Jan or Ken Alexander 541-446-3413.
Miners are familiar with the pages and pages of mitigations that the Forest Service tacks onto our Plans of Operation. However, in the NFBR SEIS, there are some new mitigations, and in my opinion, some of them are just not reasonable. Read over the mitigations in the document, because there may be more than just the following:

Suction Dredgers Prohibited from putting Dredges in Streams
G24. Stream buffers are to be undisturbed. No mining activities, storage of equipment or overburden, or driving a vehicle off an existing road is permitted within a stream buffer. This is not reasonable. How would a miner get his suction dredge into the creek? Other forest users are not held to this standard.

Operations Shut Down and No Tree Removal Due to Birds
G25. If new active goshawk nests are discovered, a 30-acre nest area will be delineated by district wildlife personnel around active goshawk nest sites, and a seasonal restriction on the use of heavy equipment would be recommended in the immediate vicinity of the nest to reduce disturbance to goshawks during courtship and nesting. Nest areas will be deferred from tree removal with the exception of snags cut to address hazards around work areas. Goshawks are not ESA species and are not even considered a “sensitive species” in the Pacific Northwest Region. Prohibiting mining would be a takings.

Fire Precaution Level Requirements
F7. The operator shall observe all the requirements of the Industrial Fire Precaution Level. Daily, prior to the start of work, the operator shall obtain the predicted Industrial Fire Precaution Level from the appropriate Ranger District headquarters. Cell phones do not work over large areas of the forest, and forest service offices are not open on weekends. It is not reasonable to expect miners to drive to town every morning before they go to work.

Prohibition on Reclamation Work During the Spring
P2. All test holes or trenches dug by mechanized equipment such as a backhoe or track hoe shall be backfilled during the dry season (July 1-October 31) annually. Prohibiting miners from backfilling their excavations in an ongoing manner before July1 is not reasonable.

Complete Reclamation Annually
R2. Surface mining and testing in areas within the INFISH RHCA (300 feet from the creek) must be reclaimed at the end of each season. This shall include refilling of test holes, revegetating to avoid active erosion, and mulching with wood or straw certified free of noxious weeds. This mitigation should be applied site specifically. It is not reasonable to require complete reclamation annually in areas where the 300 foot RHCA extends into the dry uplands.

Use of Fords
Z9. All operations that are required to ford a fish-bearing stream on a Maintenance Level 1 road (closed road) shall restrict vehicle movement across the stream to 1) either the instream work window as identified for each site by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife or 2) build a permanent crossing structure (i.e. bottomless pipe arch, bridge). The permanent structure shall not affect fish passage. The permanent structure shall meet performance requirements that address site-specific issues and conditions as well as manual and policy direction. These include passing the 100-year flow event, preventing
stream bank modification, maintaining structural integrity for vehicles used in the operation, and accident prevention and safety. Three parts of this mitigation are unreasonable (1) Miners have a legal right to access. The FS cannot restrict their access to only the instream period, this would be a takings. (2) Construction of a permanent crossing is not reasonable for a temporary operation. There needs to be an option for a temporary bridge. (3) Miners should have a third option of obtaining 401 certification through DEQ to use fords outside the instream work window.

No Clear Definition of What is Expected in Terms of Final Reclamation
R9. All stockpiled topsoil and/or other suitable fines, such as silt from the settling ponds, shall be evenly spread over disturbed areas on completion of the operation and/or in an ongoing restoration program. Areas shall be reclaimed to a useable condition as determined by the District Ranger. What is a “usable condition”? There needs to be a clear definition of what successful reclamation consists of.

R11. In areas of high livestock traffic, reclaimed areas will be fenced (and maintained) if needed (temporary fencing) by the operator for a period of not less than 2 years following reclamation. What areas are considered “high livestock traffic” areas? There needs to be a clear definition of what and where these areas are.

R21. Specifications for revegetation will be developed at the time of final reclamation. Variables such as the time of the year, sufficient top soil, existing ground cover, desired vegetation and acceptable survival will be evaluated at that time. It is not reasonable to wait until final reclamation to decide what will be required. There needs to be a clear definition of what successful reclamation consists of.

Z10. Where the miner has removed vegetation on the road bed and fill slope to create access, the miner shall re-plant grass, brush, and trees present on the road prior to their disturbance to the original densities …Specifications for revegetation will be developed at the time of final reclamation and acceptable survival will be evaluated at that time. Unreasonable to wait until final reclamation to decide what will be required. There needs to be a clear definition of what successful reclamation consists of.

R22. Partial bond release may occur, however, the bond will not be released in full until final reclamation is successful. It is unreasonable to wait until final reclamation to decide what will be required. There needs to be a clear definition of what successful reclamation consists of.

Use of Woody Material is Prohibited
R20. After seeding, the mine operator will evenly distribute straw, free of noxious weeds, over the site to a thickness of not less than 3 inches. R2. States “mulching with wood or straw”. It appears that R20 contradicts R2. It is not reasonable to prohibit use of wood, which is available, is weed-free and is natural.

Gates Required
Z11. During periods of operations, and seasonal or temporary shutdowns, the operator is responsible for installing and maintaining a closure device that is approved in writing by the District Ranger. Two parts of this mitigation are not reasonable. #1 it is not reasonable to require miners to install gates or other closure devices; if the FS wants a gate, they need to install it. #2 it is not reasonable to require miners to “maintain closure devices” during the time that the mine is shut down and the miners have gone home.

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 and we will take care of the rest. The number next to your ad is how many months your ad will run. .

The Eastern Oregon Mining Association $1000 reward posters are printed on laminated poster board. Putting these up on your mining site may give the thieves second thoughts about stealing your equipment. The posters sell for $2.50 each and will be available at the next meeting. You can also order one by calling Chuck at 541 523 3285

There are many people collecting these proof-minted medallions. Of course, real gold in the pan on the medallion is an added value. These medallions are currently selling for $50 apiece plus $5 shipping, handling, and insurance. Due to the volatility of the silver market, these prices are subject to change. You can order one from the EOMA website on the internet, send in $50 plus $5.00, to EOMA, Medallions, PO Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814, or call Ken Alexander, 541-446-3413.

We are now offering a new 18 month EOMA Calendar with historical mining pictures. It also has date reminders to help you keep your claim valid. It also has addresses and phone numbers of the agencies you have to deal with. So support the EOMA by ordering your calendar now for the price of $10 each, or three for $29 bucks, plus a dollar for each calendar for shipping. There is an order form in the back of the newsletter. You can also call Chuck Chase at 541 523 3285.

Located near John Day, primitive, insulated house, wood heat, good water, road & hunting. Off grid – generator. Contact: PO box 8353 spring Creek, NV 89815 for more information. Or you may email: jetteseal@gmail.com

Equipment includes a 20yd hopper feeder, 80kw Onan generator, 40 and 30 conveyors, 5\ and 3\ slurry pumps, Reichert Spiral concentrator, 5th wheel dollies, lots of sluices, 5yd dump box, electric motors switch boxes and panel boards. Much more! Contact Jack at 208-284-5882.

This backhoe is a workhorse. Starts good and hydraulics work well. It has a 11/4 yard Front end loader bucket. Cab. Serial #9106582 Priced to sell at $8,000. Call Ken Alexander 541 446 3391