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*The opinions and content published in Rants and Raves are solely those of the author and do not represent EOMA or its general membership. No agreement or complicity is expressed or implied.

OREGON DEPT OF GEOLOGY AND MINERAL INDUSTRIES NEEDS A NAME CHANGE

- Miner X
- 02/02/2009

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There was a time when the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) existed solely to advance the intelligent development and use of the state's vast mineral resources.

That is no longer the case. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Once the supervising agency for over 40 million dollars of annual Oregon mining revenue, the new DOGAMI is of no benefit to miners at all. They have been wholly remade into yet another Oregon environmental watchdog agency and assigned the task of ... duplicating the efforts of other agencies.

The only interest they now have for mining is in collecting regulation fees and enforcing reclamation. The entire department is staffed with biologists and geologists who've never spent a day underground in anything other than the Oregon Caves National Monument. In short, they know as much about mining as a sack of hammers. Yet these are the people in charge of billions of dollars of state mineral resources.

So what do they do? All it takes is a glance at their web site or any of their publications to see just how distant DOGAMI is from anything to do with mineral development. You'll see geologic and coastal hazards, oil and gas in Oregon, mined land reclamation, and their Nature of the Northwest information which is their attempt to capitulate gang green and captivate tourists.

TSUNAMIS, VOLCANOS, POLLUTION, OH MY!

Dig into the meat of DOGAMI's pet projects and you'll find scintillating reports and color charts about how an eruption of Mount Hood might take out Portland instantly, or how a tsunami hitting the Oregon coast might cause, ugh, major destruction. Well, cut me off at the knee caps and call me Shorty! Too bad Pompeii didn't have DOGAMI around before Vesuvius erupted and incinerated every living thing within a hundred miles.

These studies, while fascinating, are completely pointless. But the state continues to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to perpetuate them, even while trapped in the jaws of a national economic meltdown.

Let me give you a quick summary to save time: 1) If you live on the coast and a tsunami hits, you're screwed and 2) if you live in Portland and Mount Hood starts rumbling, get out. But remember, they couldn't get 200,000 people out of New Orleans with four days notice, so I doubt that DOGAMI - or anyone else - can do you much good in the case of a monumental natural catastrophe.

CASE IN POINT: MODERN DOGAMI AS AN OBSTACLE

For the last five years, Oregon Resources, Portland (parent company Industrial Minerals Corp.,Australia) has been working with DOGAMI to invest $48.5 million into mining the chromite-rich sand deposits in Coos County. They have purchased property and the processing plant has its operating permit. But the state has not approved the permit for five mining pits between Coos Bay and Bandon because Robert Houston of DOGAMI has asked Oregon Resources to clarify 29 points before it can begin mining.

The local newspaper reported last month that the state wants Oregon Resources to file an analysis of the levels, if any, of copper, hexavalent chromium and zinc from tailing samples from the processing plant. The tailings will be used to backfill the excavation site. The company must submit reports on the extent of fish within the watersheds near the mining pits, the impacts of mining on marbled murrelets and a noxious weed survey and control plan. It must clarify which county road its trucks will travel, the impact of added carbon on the soil needed for reclamation and proof of water rights to ponds the company plans to use for fire and dust prevention.

The report, once complete, must be submitted to DOGAMI, Coos County, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Oregon Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Division, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon Department of Water Resources for approval.

THE REAL PUZZLE IS FRIGHTENING

My question is what do these agency flunkies do for a living if not study and supply the very information they're requesting? Do these geniuses ever talk to each other? Obviously not. The Watermaster might know about the water rights, do you think? And what else does the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have to do if not keep a keen eye on marbled murrelets? I mean, don't they have a clue? Does the Ag Department have any idea what the current toxic weed proliferation is in the area? Share your knowledge with each other, boys and girls.

But what's really scary is that DOGAMI's knowledge about hexavalent chromium apparently comes from a Hollywood movie entitled Erin Brockovich. I'm not kidding.

News flash to DOGAMI: hexavalent chromium is a man-made, chemical compound that doesn't exist in nature. It must be manufactured and added to paint primers as a rust inhibitor which is then mostly applied to vehicles, transformers or equipment that sees outdoor corrosion exposure.

So, since they're not opening up a paint plant, do you want to know how much hexavalent chromium there is in the soil naturally or in the reclamation material? Zero. Null. Void. None. Okay? If there is any, it arrived when you chipped the paint on your government vehicle driving up the gravel road to inspect the site.

COMPARE OREGON'S DOGAMI TO NEVADA'S DIVISION OF MINERALS

Take a look at the Nevada Division of Minerals, Commission on Mineral Resources. Their purpose is clearly stated: Benefit and provide for the welfare of all the people of the state of Nevada through the responsible development and management of our State's abundant mineral resources.

That isn't anywhere near DOGAMI's breezy, nebulous rhetoric about environment. You could peel that off the 'mission statement' of any politically correct agency in the nation.

MY RECOMMENDATION FOR A NAME CHANGE

Given that DOGAMI can no longer pretend to know anything about mining or the mineral industries, I suggest they change their name to encompass everything they actually perform. I submit that they change their official moniker to the Department of Geology, Seismology, Hydrology, Industry and Tsunamis. No other agency could claim a more accurate abbreviation and the stationary would be highly collectible for years to come.