Update on some current issues:
We are packing today for our trip to Idaho and the South Fork Clearwater. We have been informed the USFS is not backing down on their ridiculous assertion that suction dredgers must pull a Plan of Operations (PoO). This is not, by law required and they are also claiming they will be enforcing restricting the number of dredges to just 15 on the river as well. We know of approximately 40 dredgers who have pulled their Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) permit and plan to dredge legally as they have for decades. We wish we had millions in the bank like some of the enviro groups do because this particular National Forest, and more specifically, the Supervisor up there needs to be sued and this insanity of unilaterally pretending to be the King of the forests needs to stop. The USFS is to manage our forests for us, not dictate by decree because they don’t like a certain activity. We are all bound by laws, must abide by them, but we are not bound by ideology, political motivations and feelings. The EPA is also claiming the miners need to pull an NPDES permit, even though one is not required by law. This waterway is “non-navigable” and the EPA has no authority over it, none. As most of you now know, we have dredged up there in opposition for many years and will again this year. The NPDES permit is for discharging pollution. Modern suction dredges do not pollute, it is a net withdrawal. The dredges remove 98% of the mercury, nearly 100% of the lead weights, and most other trash gets caught in our sluice boxes. There is no addition of anything, it is incidental fallback.
We are currently in settlement negotiations with the USFS here in California over the Taser incident lawsuit we filed and once settled, we are going to look very seriously at filing our next lawsuit, and guess who it will be?
We have a meeting scheduled next week with a Senator and the Department of Fish and Wildlife here in CA to discuss relief for those miners cited for suction dredging while using sluice boxes, high bankers and the like (which are most certainly not dredges).
We have a big outing on July 14 and 15 at “The Office” claims on bull creek near Coulterville CA. Tons of prizes and the water is flowing great! Come out to the outing (we will be posting directions shortly) and support AMRA and our efforts to stop the insanity.