Dave Mack

“The Third Appellate District of California has agreed to consider our federal preemption argument in the Brandon Rinehart case. Here is some background information and links to the important briefs regarding this case”

Please make a donation to our Legal Fund.

 

I am very excited to announce that the Third Appellate District of California has agreed to consider our federal preemption argument in the Brandon Rinehart case. Many of you will recall that Brandon was cited last year for operating a suction dredge in California without a permit. Brandon hired our attorney, James Buchal, to defend against the criminal citation.  Brandon’s defense was largely based upon our federal preemption argument in San Bernardino Superior Court that the State does not have the authority to prohibit suction dredging, and that their refusal to issue a permit amounted to a prohibition.  The judge in that case rejected the preemption argument on the presumption that we would appeal to the Appellate Court.

Now that the Appellate Court will consider federal preemption, we are on a fast track to get this very important issue decided.  James Buchal did a fantastic job in presenting opening arguments. You can find all of the arguments in the links below. I encourage you guys to read them, because they are very enlightening, not only in our legal theories, but also what we are up against in the State of California, and with anti-mining activists.  This federal preemption battle is perhaps the most important legal challenge we have ever mounted on behalf of small-scale miners.  Several other mining associations are contributing to the legal costs.

In the event that we win the federal preemption argument, my guess is that suction dredge permits will again immediately be available in California.  This, because the Appellate Court will have ruled that we can dredge if California fails to issue permits. It is impossible to predict how long it will take the Court to issue a Decision. But it is possible it could happen before this next season. Note:  This case was decided in our favor.  the Decision can be found at the bottom link below:

The California Supreme Court has since agreed to Review the Third Appellate’s Decision. Go to this page for updated information.

 
OREGON STATE DEMOCRAT SENATORS

Senator Lee Beyer
Party: D  District: 6
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1706
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-419, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: Sen.LeeBeyer@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/beyer/


Senator Chris Edwards
Party: D  District: 7
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1707
Fax Number: 541-744-7110
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-405, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: Sen.ChrisEdwards@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/edwardsc


Senator Betsy Johnson
Party: D  District: 16
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1716
District Phone: 503-543-4046
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-209, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: PO Box R, Scappoose, OR, 97056
Email: Sen.BetsyJohnson@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/johnson


Senator Arnie Roblan
Party: D  District: 5
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1705
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-417, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: Sen.ArnieRoblan@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/roblan


Senator Alan Bates
Party: D  District: 3
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1703
District Phone: 541-282-6502
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-205, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: 2859 State Street #101, Medford, OR, 97504
Email: Sen.AlanBates@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/bates


Senator Ginny Burdick troll
Party: D  District: 18
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1718
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-213, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: Sen.GinnyBurdick@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/burdick


Senator Peter Courtney
Party: D  District: 11
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1600
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-201, Salem, OR, 97301
Interim Address: 900 Court St NE, S-201, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: Sen.PeterCourtney@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/senate/senpres


Senator Richard Devlin
Party: D  District: 19
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1719
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-211, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: Sen.RichardDevlin@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/devlin


Senator Jackie Dingfelder troll
Party: D  District: 23
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1723
District Phone: 503-493-2804
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-407, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: PO Box 13432, Portland, OR, 97213
Email: Sen.JackieDingfelder@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/dingfelder


Senator Mark Hass
Party: D  District: 14
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1714
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-207, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: PO Box 536, Beaverton, OR, 97075
Email: Sen.MarkHass@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/hass


Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson
Party: D  District: 25
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1725
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-413, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: Sen.LaurieMonnesAnderson@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/monnesanderson


Senator Rod Monroe
Party: D  District: 24
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1724
District Phone: 503-760-4310
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-409, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: 7802 SE 111th Ave, Portland, OR, 97266
Email: Sen.RodMonroe@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/monroe


Senator Floyd Prozanski
Party: D  District: 4
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1704
District Phone: 541-342-2447
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-415, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: PO Box 11511, Eugene, OR, 97440
Email: Sen.FloydProzanski@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/prozanski


Senator Diane Rosenbaum
Party: D  District: 21
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1700
District Phone: 503-231-9970
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-223, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: 1125 SE Madison St., Suite 100B, Portland, OR, 97214
Email: Sen.DianeRosenbaum@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/rosenbaum


Senator Chip Shields
Party: D  District: 22
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1722
District Phone: 503-231-2564
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-421, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: 5313 N Vancouver Ave, Portland, OR, 97217
Email: Sen.ChipShields@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/shieldsc


Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward
Party: D  District: 17
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1717
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-215, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: Sen.ElizabethSteinerHayward@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/steinerhayward/

 

OREGON STATE REPUBLICAN SENATORS


Senator Herman Baertschiger
Party: R  District: 2
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1702
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-403, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: Sen.HermanBaertschiger@state.or.us
Interim Email:Sen.HermanBaertschiger@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/baertschiger


Senator Brian Boquist
Party: R  District: 12
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1712
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-305, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: Sen.BrianBoquist@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/boquist


Senator Betsy Close
Party: R  District: 8
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1708
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-303, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: Sen.BetsyClose@state.or.us
Website: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/


Senator Ted Ferrioli
Party: R  District: 30
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1950
District Phone: 541-490-6528
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-323, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: 111 Skyline Drive, John Day, OR, 97845
Email: Sen.TedFerrioli@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/ferrioli


Senator Larry George
Party: R  District: 13
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1713
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-307, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: Sen.LarryGeorge@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/georgel


Senator Fred Girod
Party: R  District: 9
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1709
District Phone: 503-769-4322
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-401, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: 101 Fern Ridge Road, Stayton, OR, 97383
Email: Sen.FredGirod@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/girod


Senator Bill Hansell
Party: R  District: 29
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1729
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-423, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: Sen.BillHansell@state.or.us
Interim Email:Sen.BillHansell@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/hansell


Senator Tim Knopp
Party: R  District: 27
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1727
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-309, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: sen.timknopp@state.or.us
Interim Email:sen.timknopp@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/knopp


Senator Jeff Kruse
Party: R  District: 1
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1701
District Phone: 541-580-3276
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-315, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: 636 Wild Iris Lane, Roseburg, OR, 97470
Email: Sen.JeffKruse@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/kruse


Senator Alan Olsen
Party: R  District: 20
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1720
District Phone: 503-936-8605
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-425, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: PO Box 820, Canby, OR, 97013
Email: Sen.AlanOlsen@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/olsen


Senator Bruce Starr
Party: R  District: 15
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1715
District Phone: 503-352-0922
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-411, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: 22115 NW Imbrie Drive #290, Hillsboro, OR, 97124
Email: Sen.BruceStarr@state.or.us
Website: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/


Senator Chuck Thomsen
Party: R  District: 26
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1726
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-316, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: Sen.ChuckThomsen@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/thomsen/


Senator Doug Whitsett
Party: R  District: 28
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1728
District Phone: 541-883-4006
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-311, Salem, OR, 97301
District Office Address: 23131 N. Poe Valley Road, Klamath Falls, OR, 97603
Email: Sen.DougWhitsett@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/whitsett


Senator Jackie Winters
Party: R  District: 10
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1710
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-301, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: Sen.JackieWinters@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/winters


 

Dave's Gold Nuggets

The New 49’er Legal Fund-raiser!

There will be 25 prizes in all:

Grand Prize: 1-ounce of Dave’s Gold Nuggets
Four ¼-ounce Bags of Dave’s Gold Nuggets
Twenty 1-Pennyweight Bags of Dave’s Gold Nuggets

We need to replenish our legal defense fund to keep up with the cost of defending small-scale miners on multiple fronts. Therefore, Dave McCracken has authorized for three ounces of his personal gold nuggets to be used as prizes in this fund-raiser!

The drawing will take place at our weekly potluck in Happy Camp on Saturday evening, 13 July 2013. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You do not need to be present to win. There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49′€™ers, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or online by clicking Here.

 

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association,
27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012 www.goldgold.com

 

 
 

 Dave Mack's Gold 2011

 

Dave McCrackenNew 49’er Legal Fund-raiser!

There will be 25 prizes in all:
Grand Prize: 1-ounce of Gold
Four ¼-ounce Prizes
Twenty 1-Pennyweight Prizes

This is some of the gold which Dave Mack dredged from the Rogue River during the 2011 season. Dave has authorized our office to automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc).

There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. The drawing will take place at our headquarters in Happy Camp on 9 March, 2012.

Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49’ers, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or online by clicking Here.

Make a Donation

 

 

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association,
27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012

www.goldgold.com

 
Dave Mack

“Here are some links to Information on the Karuk tribe lawsuit against the California Department of Fish and Game to change dredging regulations…”

Please make a donation to our Legal Fund.

Important note:  This case has been going on so long, that most of what has happened is ancient history  A more recent very important development is that on 12 January 2015, San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Ochoa handed small-scale miners a huge victory by deciding that California’s Moratorium against suction dredging in combination with its recently-adopted 2012 regulations amount to an unlawful and un-enforceable scheme to thwart the will of congress.  Here is the Court’s Decision, and here is a shorter explanation from our attorney.  Since this is sure to change the outcome any remaining litigation, we will start with a new page which can be found here:

Explanations About This Case:

Key Court Documents:

 

Code of Federal Regulations

TITLE 36–PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC PROPERTY

CHAPTER II–FOREST SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

PART 228–MINERALS–Table of Contents

Subpart A–Locatable Minerals

Sec. 228.3 Definitions.

For the purposes of this part the following terms, respectively, shall mean: (a) Operations. All functions, work, and activities in connection with prospecting, exploration, development, mining or processing of mineral resources and all uses reasonably incident thereto, including roads and other means of access on lands subject to the regulations in this part, regardless of whether said operations take place on or off mining claims.
(b) Operator. A person conducting or proposing to conduct operations.
(c) Person. Any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity.
(d) Mining claim. Any unpatented mining claim or unpatented millsite authorized by the United States mining laws of May 10, 1872, as amended (30 U.S.C. 22 et seq.).
(e) Authorized officer. The Forest Service officer to whom authority to review and approve operating plans has been delegated.

Sec. 228.4 Plan of operations–notice of intent–requirements.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, a notice of intention to operate is required from any person proposing to conduct operations which might cause disturbance of surface resources. Such notice of intention shall be submitted to the District Ranger having jurisdiction over the area in which the operations will be conducted. If the District Ranger determines that such operations will likely cause significant disturbance of surface resources, the operator shall submit a proposed plan of operations to the District Ranger.
(1) The requirements to submit a plan of operations shall not apply:
(i) To operations which will be limited to the use of vehicles on existing public roads or roads used and maintained for National Forest purposes,
(ii) To individuals desiring to search for and occasionally remove small mineral samples or specimens,
(iii) To prospecting and sampling which will not cause significant surface resource disturbance and will not involve removal of more than a reasonable amount of mineral deposit for analysis and study,
(iv) To marking and monumenting a mining claim and
(v) To subsurface operations which will not cause significant surface resource disturbance.
(2) A notice of intent need not be filed:
(i) Where a plan of operations is submitted for approval in lieu thereof,
(ii) For operations excepted in paragraph (a)(1) of this section from the requirement to file a plan of operations,
(iii) For operations which will not involve the use of mechanized earthmoving equipment such as bulldozers or backhoes and will not involve the cutting of trees. Each notice of intent to operate shall provide information sufficient to identify the area involved, the nature of the proposed operations, the route of access to the area of operations and the method of transport. If a notice of intent is filed, the District Ranger will, within 15 days of receipt thereof, notify the operator whether a plan of operations is required.

 

 

PART 228–MINERALS Subpart A–Locatable Minerals 0 1. The authority citation for part 228 continues to read as follows: Authority: 30 Stat. 35 and 36, as amended (16 U.S.C. 478, 551); 41 Stat. 437, as amended sec. 5102(d), 101 Stat. 1330-256 (30 U.S.C. 226); 61 Stat. 681, as amended (30 U.S.C. 601); 61 Stat. 914, as amended (30 U.S.C. 352); 69 Stat. 368, as amended (30 U.S.C. 611); and 94 Stat. 2400. 0 2. Amend Sec. 228.4 to revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:

Sec. 228.4 Notice of intent–plan of operations–requirements.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, a notice of intent to operate is required from any person proposing to conduct operations which might cause significant disturbance of surface resources. Such notice of intent to operate shall be submitted to the District Ranger having jurisdiction over the area in which the operations will be conducted. Each notice of intent to operate shall provide information sufficient to identify the area involved, the nature of the proposed operations, the route of access to the area of operations, and the method of transport.

(1) A notice of intent to operate is not required for: (i) Operations which will be limited to the use of vehicles on existing public roads or roads used and maintained for National Forest System purposes; (ii) Prospecting and sampling which will not cause significant surface resource disturbance and will not involve removal of more than a reasonable amount of mineral deposit for analysis and study which generally might include searching for and occasionally removing small mineral samples or specimens, gold panning, metal detecting, non- motorized hand sluicing, using battery operated dry washers, and collecting of mineral specimens using hand tools; (iii) Marking and monumenting a mining claim; (iv) Underground operations which will not cause significant surface resource disturbance; (v) Operations, which in their totality, will not cause surface resource disturbance which is substantially different than that caused by other users [[Page 32732]] of the National Forest System who are not required to obtain a Forest Service special use authorization,

contract, or other written authorization; (vi) Operations which will not involve the use of mechanized earthmoving equipment, such as bulldozers or backhoes, or the cutting of trees, unless those operations otherwise might cause a significant disturbance of surface resources; or (vii) Operations for which a proposed plan of operations is submitted for approval;

(2) The District Ranger will, within 15 days of receipt of a notice of intent to operate, notify the operator if approval of a plan of operations is required before the operations may begin.

(3) An operator shall submit a proposed plan of operations to the District Ranger having jurisdiction over the area in which operations will be conducted in lieu of a notice of intent to operate if the proposed operations will likely cause a significant disturbance of surface resources. An operator also shall submit a proposed plan of operations, or a proposed supplemental plan of operations consistent with Sec. 228.4(d), to the District Ranger having jurisdiction over the area in which operations are being conducted if those operations are causing a significant disturbance of surface resources but are not covered by a current approved plan of operations. The requirement to submit a plan of operations shall not apply to the operations listed in paragraphs (a)(1)(i) through (v). The requirement to submit a plan of operations also shall not apply to operations which will not involve the use of mechanized earthmoving equipment, such as bulldozers or backhoes, or the cutting of trees, unless those operations otherwise will likely cause a significant disturbance of surface resources.

(4) If the District Ranger determines that any operation is causing or will likely cause significant disturbance of surface resources, the District Ranger shall notify the operator that the operator must submit a proposed plan of operations for approval and that the operations can not be conducted until a plan of operations is approved. * * * * * Dated: May 31, 2005. David P. Tenny, Deputy Under Secretary, NRE. [FR Doc. 05-11138 Filed 6-3-05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-11-P

 

 

FIRST QUARTER, MARCH 2011                            VOLUME 25, NUMBER 2
Dave Mack

By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

 

 

The California Department of Fish & Game (DFG) released its long-awaited Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIR) and Proposed new Suction Dredging Regulations on 28 February 2011. These, along with other information, can be found at DFG’s web site. The Drafts have also been sent to each of California’s counties and to other locations. For more information where to view the material, you can make contact with Mark Stopher13, Environmental Program Manager, California Department of Fish and Game, 601 Locust Street, Redding, CA 96001: Voice 530 225-2275; Fax 530 225-2391; Cell 530 945-1344.

This has triggered a 60-day public comment period which will end on 29 April 2011. Written comments can be submitted to Mark Stopher, Department of Fish and Game, 601 Locust Street, Redding, CA 96001. Or they can be faxed or emailed: Fax: (530) 225-2391; Email: dfgsuctiondredge@dfg.ca.gov.

Five public hearings have also been set so that interested people can voice comments. The format of the public hearings will be Open House Workshop between 5 ‘ 6 p.m; Welcome and Opening Remarks at 6:00 p.m.; Highlights of the Draft EIR at 6:20 p.m.; and Public Comment Period beginning at 6:45 p.m. Here are the meeting places and dates:

Santa Clarita: Wednesday, March 23 at Residence Inn by Marriott, 25320 The Old Rd., Santa Clarita, California.

Fresno: Thursday, March 24 at the California Retired Teachers Association, 3930 East Saginaw Way, Fresno, California.

Sacramento: Tuesday, March 29 at the California EPA Headquarters Building, Byron Sher Auditorium, 1001 ‘ I Street, Sacramento, California.

Yreka: Wednesday, March 30 at the Yreka Community Center, 810 N. Oregon, Yreka, California.

Redding: Thursday, March 31 at the Shasta Senior Nutrition Program, 100 Mercy Oaks Drive, Redding, California.

Preliminary Analysis: As there is very little time to get the word out on this, I have only read through the new regulations once so far. But I can tell you that the proposed changes are very substantial!

One of the problems is that many or most of the proposed changes are in locations elsewhere in the State that I am not familiar with. It is impossible for me to comment correctly about areas of the State that I know little about. So I will contain this initial review to areas where The New 49’ers have mining properties in Siskiyou County. I am assuming and hoping that other prospecting organizations and individuals who are more familiar with other areas will be organizing comments from elsewhere in the State.

Here follows an initial review of how the proposed new dredging regulations would affect New 49’er members along properties which we manage:

1) The current schedule published by DFG does not have new regulations in place before the fall of 2011. So we should assume the new regulations will mainly affect our 2012 season and beyond.

2) DFG is proposing to issue only 4,000 annual suction dredge permits, on a first come, first served basis. We will need to address how this will affect prior existing rights to ongoing mining projects which were shut down during the 2009 season.

3) The proposed regulations allow suction dredging with a 4-inch nozzle intake on the Klamath, Scott and Salmon Rivers between 1 July and September 30.

4) An onsite inspection is required of anyone who would like to operate a larger nozzle than 4-inches. Up to 8-inches will be allowed on the Scott and Klamath Rivers (but not Salmon River) with onsite inspection. Earlier permit applications required an increased fee for onsite inspections. Since annual fees are not being changed in this process, pre-existing fees should be adjusted according to inflation.

5) The proposed regulations will eliminate dredging on our Indian Creek, Elk Creek and Thompson Creek properties, and not allow dredging within 500 feet of most side tributaries which enter the Klamath. This means no dredging on the Klamath River within 500 feet of Negro Creek on K-9; it means no dredging within 500 feet of O’Neal Creek on K-10; it means no dredging within 500 feet of Portugese Creek on K-14; it means no dredging within 500 feet of Thompson Creek on K-16; it means no dredging within 500 feet of Indian Creek on K-21; It means no dredging within 500 feet of either Grider Creek or Elk Creek on K-22; and it means no dredging within 500 feet of Coon Creek or Swillup Creek on K-25A. There may be other Club properties affected by this that I don’t see, yet.

6) An onsite inspection is required of anyone who would like to operate a motorized winch.

7) No dredging anywhere within 3 feet of the edge of the waterway at the time the dredging is taking place.

8) Pump intake screens must be of a mesh or hole-size no greater than 3/32″. This may require a smaller mesh-size to surround some existing pump intakes.

I have not had time yet to study the full text of the Draft EIR to determine how DFG is justifying all these added restrictions to our suction dredging regulations. But, since public hearings will begin on 23 March, I did not want to delay getting the word out to you guys while I take the time to critique the Draft EIR.

For those of you who are interested in this, I advise you to either go up on the Internet and study the drafts for yourself, or find out where you can get hold of one at a library near you (call Mark Stopher at the numbers listed above). You can also go up on our Internet Forum and watch the threads. We have about 4,000 people on there now, and I am sure there will be plenty of ongoing discussion about what we don’t like and what the talking points ought to be.

I have absolutely no input yet about how the proposed regulations will affect other areas outside of our own. The Proposal places a big hit on our properties. Having said that, it could have been worse; they could be proposing to eliminate dredging altogether!

I am not saying it is good. I am saying it could have been worse. Now it is our turn within the process to try and change the things in the Proposal that we do not

like.

You will hear more from me about this on talking points (for written comments) in our April Newsletter. That will not be in time for public hearings. But since the hearings are really just listening sessions to determine how mad the public is; I suggest you go down there and give them an angry earful! Then you can follow up in April with written comments after we have had an opportunity to analyze the positions DFG has assumed in the Draft EIR.

Other Types of Mining During 2011

Just in case you do not know, it is only suction dredging within California’s active waterways that remains in suspension until new dredging regulations are finally adopted. This does not have anything to do with the other types of prospecting or mining that we do in California. Unaffected prospecting activities include panning, sniping & vack-mining, sluicing & high-banking, booming, electronic prospecting and other types of prospecting that do not use a suction nozzle within an active stream, river or creek. It also does not affect our group weekend projects.

There are no seasons imposed upon these other types of mining activity. In other words, you can do them at any time of the year.

Please be advised that these other types of mining activity along New 49’er properties are subject to a strict set of Surface Mining Operational Guidelines.

As the suction dredging seasons in California have been suspended, we have identified some fantastic suction dredging opportunities for our members in Southern Oregon.

Oregon Proposal to Increase Dredging Permit Fees!

Now; here is something else that we need to fight:

Oregon State Senators Atkinson, Haas and Bates have just introduced Oregon Senate Bill (SB) 765, which would tax suction gold dredgers by charging an additional $50 annual fee for in-state dredgers and an additional whopping $2,500 fee for non-resident dredgers for each county where the prospector intends to dredge!

Under emergency status, this bill is now moving on fast-track through the Oregon legislative process. If passed, it is possible these unreasonable fees could be in affect for the upcoming season!

At this moment, the bill is sitting in the Oregon State Senate Committee on Judiciary (Contact: Annola.DeJoug@stat.or.us or 503 986-1750). We sent out an Action Alert to our entire Email Action List (about 40,000 prospectors) as soon as the bill landed in the Judiciary Committee.

Postal mail is no longer an effective way to send out Action Alerts, because it all takes so long. This bill could already be in another committee or in front of the full senate before you guys even read the hard-copy version of our newsletter.

If you are interested in getting on our Email Action List, you do so by clicking on the Free Internet Newsletter link at the bottom-left of our home page.

With the Action Alerts, and the coordinated work being done on numerous fronts, quite a lot has already been done to combat this very bad bill. But we will need to do more; because Oregon is being managed largely by liberal politicians that are beholden to environmentalists.

We are presently interviewing lobbyists to represent the interests of small-scale miners in Oregon.

Yes, I know; it is all supposed to be about creating jobs. Right? In a published statement by Senator Atkinson, he makes his intention clear that he wants to keep non-resident prospectors out of Oregon. What?

By the way, Senator Atkinson migrated to Oregon from California! How does that make you feel?

Our Legal Fund Needs Help, Again!

It is not all bad news: Three new pro-mining bills have been introduced in California. Senate Bill 657 by Senator Gaines changes the law to exclude suction dredging from the ongoing administrative process which is reviewed in the new Proposal outlined above, and allow dredging under the earlier regulations until 2014. There is also a pro-rated refund for those of us who got knocked out of our dredging permits during 2009.

Assembly Bill 566 (Galgiani) and Senate Bill 792 (Steinberg) are the same bills which require California to formally acknowledge mineral-rich areas and prevent other priorities from eliminating mining as the primary use.

When I told you in January that we had some legal/political issues on our radar screen, it was mainly because we knew the Draft EIR and Proposed Regulations were soon to be released in California. We were not also expecting to fight a 100-fold permit fee increase in Oregon; and we were not expecting that pro-mining bills would be introduced which require our support if we want them to pass!

Therefore, it is a good thing that we were out in front of ourselves pulling a new fund-raiser together.

Our existing drawing will be for three ounces of beautiful Rogue River gold that I personally mined last season. We could really use your help right now!

 

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012 www.goldgold.com

 

 


SECOND QUARTER, JUNE 2005 VOLUME 19, NUMBER 5

By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

We received our Notice of Intent back from the U.S. Forest Service Ranger in Fort Jones. He has determined that our dredging, sluicing (with or without motorized pumps) and panning activities will not create any significant surface disturbance on the Scott River or along the upper Salmon River. That includes our claims along the North Fork of the Salmon, and on the Main Stem down to the Nordheimer Campground.

Our limit is no more than 8 dredges per mile along our claims on the Scott and Salmon Rivers.

We have set aside several nice, shady areas for camping.

All of our normal operational guidelines apply.

Our claims-guides have already been modified to reflect the present situation, and they have also been changed on the web site.

This present situation is substantially improved over last year. As long as members operate within our rules and published guidelines, there is no need to send in your own Notice to the Ranger if you want to dredge or surface mine on our claims along the Klamath, Scott and upper Salmon Rivers, and along Indian, Thompson and Elk Creeks.

Master List of Mining Properties

I hope this makes you guys as happy as I am about this situation.

We are working on gaining back a similar operating program along the lower Salmon River (SA1 through SA-4) this season, but are not quite there yet. Stay tuned!

Karuk Litigation Nearly Finished

As many of you will already be aware, the Karuk Tribe of California has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), asking the judge to decide that the USFS does not have the authority to allow insignificant small-scale gold mining activity within the high-water marks of any waterway in the Klamath National Forest (KNF).

The KNF is where we hold most of our mining claims, and where most of our members prospect for gold. So our own interests are at risk. But because the points of law to be decided in this case are general by nature, the outcome is likely to affect all of the National Forests in America. There is a lot at stake here!

Because it is really the miners’ interests that are being fought over in this case, The New 49’ers filed a motion to intervene in the litigation several months ago, and our standing was approved by the judge. This is a good thing.

Even before we were granted standing in the litigation, the Karuks, USFS and the judge had already stipulated that this case would be decided by summary judgment prior to 1 July, 2005.

On schedule with that, the Karuks filed their motion for Summary Judgment on April 29. The Karuks are basically arguing that the USFS cannot allow any type of mineral activity within “riparian reserves” (within the high-water marks of any waterway in the forest), unless a full Operating Plan has been approved in advance – which would require years of environmental evaluation.

The New 49’ers filed our Opposition Brief on May 17th which mounts a very substantial argument why the Karuk’s position is flawed, and why miners have a right to access the public lands for the purpose of mineral exploration, which cannot be interfered with (by anyone) when our activity does not create a significant disturbance. We reinforced our position with several sworn Declarations which demonstrate that the arguments being made by the Karuks do not present an accurate presentation of the actual circumstances surrounding their claims in court:

1) A Declaration from Dennis Maria, who is the California Department of Fish & Game Biologist (now retired) that has personally overseen all of the small-scale mining activity in the KNF for many years. His Declaration states from personal knowledge that the suction dredge activity which the Karuks complain about does not create any significant negative impact upon the fishery resources.

2) A Declaration from Joseph Greene, who was a research biologist for 32 years with the Environmental Protection Agency (now retired). Mr. Greene dedicated his Declaration to answering the many questions raised by the Karuks in their complaint concerning the potential impacts from suction dredging and other small-scale mining activity. To accomplish this, Mr. Greene cited research from an extensive amount of source material he has accumulated from the many studies which have been completed on mining over the years.

3) A Declaration from myself about the nature of prospecting and small-scale mining on the National Forest. I explained that most prospectors today are using hand tools and portable vacuum cleaners, and that no one is using backhoes and bulldozers, as alleged in the Karuk’s complaint. I also gave a detailed account of the substantial number of meetings that have occurred in recent years between the USFS, Karuks and the miners so that we could work out any of their concerns. This, because the Karuks are

complaining that they have been completely left out of the process, which is simply not true.

The USFS filed its own opposition brief (opposing the Karuk position) on May 17th. Basically, the USFS is arguing that under the mineral laws, prospectors and miners have full right of access to the National Forest, and that the USFS has absolutely no authority to do anything about it as long as the mineral activity does not cause a significant surface disturbance.

I strongly suggest the USFS position is something every miner should read. There is probably nothing more informative today concerning the legal position that the USFS believes it is in with the management of mineral activity on the public lands.

The one good thing that is coming out as a result of this litigation is that the legal rolls and relationships between miners and the USFS are being put under a microscope and becoming much more clearly defined. Let’s hope that the judge reaffirms them, because the definitions having to do with this case are in our favor!

There is a substantial amount of clearly established law which makes it abundantly clear (at least to me) that, because the mineral laws convey an actual property interest upon prospectors, the USFS does not possess the authority to interfere with any mineral activity which does not create a significant impact upon surface resources in the National Forest. This has been brought out in both ours and the USFS Opposition briefs.

In that the Karuks are asking the federal judge to impose an authority upon the Forest Service where one does not exist as a matter of law, my hope is that the Karuk’s motion for Summary Judgment will fail. But, the decision is not up to me. The judge will let us all know what she decides sometime around the end of June.

Meanwhile, I would like to let you know that, with your help, we have done as well as we can to defend against the Karuk challenge. I want to thank our two attorneys, James Buchal and Dabney Eastham, who have worked tirelessly on our behalf. We are very lucky to have them on our side.

I also want to thank all of you who have so generously contributed to our legal fund. Without you, we would not be meeting our adversaries with everything we need to do our absolute best. As it is, we have not been lacking for the resources to meet this challenge.

I encourage you to read the Briefs and Declarations concerning this case if you have time. This will give you a good perception of how complex and how much work is involved with mounting a substantial legal defense in this day and age. The material is very educational! It will also give you a substantial understanding of the legal foundations which support prospecting and mining activity on the public lands, and the legal challenges which we are defending against these days.

I am always awe-inspired when important circumstances cause miners to pull ourselves together in a common cause, and I feel very honored to be part of it when it happens. The experience gives me the feeling of being part of something worthwhile and important in our time. And I sincerely thank you guys for allowing me to play a part in this.

I encourage everyone to pay close attention to how this comes out towards the end of this month. We will have news of the judge’s decision on our web site as soon as we get it. The girls in the office will be informed if you ant to call the office. And, we will publish the July newsletter and send it out as soon as we know what is happening.


Sincerely,

Dave Mack