Committee on Natural Resources
United States House of Representatives
1324 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Mr. Lamborn, February 5, 2015
AMRA, American Mining Rights Association, is a 501(c)(3) not for profit company represents small miners all across America and we are writing to you today to convey the profound anger, fear and shock expressed by our tens of thousands of followers, members and partners within the small mining industry.
Mr. Obama’s new budget proposal would devastate the lode mining industry by proposing sweeping and radical changes which include royalties of not less than 5% of the gross proceeds, increased yearly fees and a new mineral lease program which reads like a complete attempt to decimate and destroy this industry.
Also in this radical proposal is the elimination of the smal miners waiver which affects all mining claim owners who own 10 claims or less. This small miners waiver is used by hundreds of thousands of small miners all across America. We’d like to show you some math on exactly how this affects these mining claim owners. Currently, if someone owns less than 10 mining claims, which are recognized as “real property” and are assessed property taxes by each county, the owners pay $10 to BLM to maintain ownership of their claim(s). Under Mr. Obama’s budget proposal the fee’s would radically change to this:
As an example, we will use 5 claims of varying size:
John Q Public owns 5 claims and under the current BLM rules regarding mining claims he pays:
Claim #1 is 160 acres in size
Claim #2 is 140 acres in size
Claim #3, 4 and 5 are 100 acres in size.
Currently, the owner pays $10 for each claim to BLM to satisfy the small miner status. Total = $50.00
Under Mr. Obama’s budget proposal:
All claims would change to $165.00 per 20 acres, per claim.
Claim 1 would change to $1,320.00 annually.
Claim 2 would change to $980.00
Claims 3-5 would change to $825.00 each or a total of $2,475.00.
From $50.00 annually to $4,775.00 annually.
Please allow that to sink in for a minute, the costs go from $50 to $4,775 overnight. This is in addition to the Executive Order Mr. Obama executed in September of 2012 changing the cost of filing new claims from a total of $165.00 per claim, to $165.00 for every 20 acres per claim. To file a 160 acre claim after this EO, the cost is now $1,320.00
The example above is just that, an example. For Associations like ours, our costs will increase from $250.00 to over $25,000 annually just to keep the claims we have.
This all out assault on the back bone of this country and the middle class, is reprehensible, irresponsible and would devastate the small mining industry. Every single one of these owners are terrified they will have to give up their claims as they cannot afford these barbaric increases.
We are requesting, in writing, your stance, and the stance on each of the committee members on this important matter. What would you like us to tell the hundreds of thousands of mining claim owners, and outstanding stewards of our public lands in the United States you will do about this budget proposal? We will be publishing each of the committee member responses for the small mining industry.
Mr. Shannon Poe
PMB #607, 6386 Greeley Hill Road
Coulterville CA 95311