About the Barstow/BLM road closures and uniting to fight tyranny:
We are going to provide you with some factual evidence on this issue, court cases, WEMO plan documents (the documents they claim gives them the authority to close the roads) and other contact information of how you can make a difference.
Have you ever wondered how the environmental groups seem to never stop, win many of their cases and get regulatory and management agencies to roll over on their backs in submission?
It really boils down to two things:
They do not in-fight like many groups, they have a unified goal (mostly un-American) of “changing” things the way they want them to change. We know you are upset, so are we. We know the loss of cases like the dredge case in San Bernadino hurts, trust us, we feel it too. While we were not a part of the suit and had no say in how it was handled, now is not the time for throwing knives at each other as we see on other FB pages. We can assure you our opposition IS on these pages, just like they are on this page you’re reading. They relish watching when we attack each other. Divide and conquer comes to mind.
There is a profound difference between miners and environmentalists. Miners are fiercely independent, quite outspoken and love their freedoms. The environmental folks are more lock-step followers. Miners are some of the toughest people out there and to quantify that, Tom Mitchell, one of our Board of Directors and Claims Manager coined a phrase which sums up uniting the miners quite succinctly. “Uniting the miners is like herding cats with a leaf blower”. Miners don’t like being told what to do or what we should do, and neither do we.
Funding. The small mining community and public land users do not have a George Soros who just donated 18 billion, yes with a “B” to the Open Society Foundation which then distributes tens of millions to these radical environmental groups in America. At last count, there are over 200 which he funds. Soros is an admitted Communist and has stated time and again he intends to over-throw our Republic. Until we find funding like that, we must band together and fight this together using the law, facts, science, guts and do it with what little funding we do receive.
AMRA leads on how to fight issues like the Barstow/BLM illegal road closure using facts, case history, explanation of fundamental rights and supporting documents and then back it up with action. AMRA is not a knight in shining Armour where we wave a magic wand and the roads miraculously open. It requires you standing up to the tyranny we all witness. We lead by example by going out there and showing you that if you stand up to something so profoundly illegal, you win, they lose. We did this in Idaho with the EPA and have done it so many times on road closures, frankly I cannot remember the number.
We stand on the front line and all we ask is you stand behind us. In support of the rule of law. In support of our fundamental rights which they, on a daily basis try and take away. Many times, too many in fact, these agencies will do things like close roads knowing it is illegal but they don’t care because they do not have any kind of financial incentive not to do it. They know we have to fund-raise and set up a tort claim to sue them to prove our rights exist. It is a perpetual cycle and it is disgusting. Our government now has over 9 million employees and contractors. They are so bloated, they don’t know what they are doing, most don’t know the laws, their own regulations and what they are allowed and not allowed to do. Laws have been passed over the years which make it pretty difficult to sue an individual for doing things like this. It CAN be done, don’t get us wrong and we explore all of those avenues, but it is difficult.
As an example, as the road closures relate to Katrina Symons, Field Manager of the Barstow BLM, we had to educate her on the laws, the case history on BLM road closures, had to provide her with the language in her own WEMO plan which states the roads must remain open, the CBD case where a judge tells her she must keep the roads open and even a document from the BLM explaining what her job is and what it entails. Once you go down the road of educating her, her “ignorance of the law, her own rules, regulations and our civil rights are no excuse for you to violate them now”. In other words, it is direct and constructive notice you must give them after educating them. Then you might have a chance in holding them individually accountable. We have done that, in great detail.
So let’s look at a few things on the Barstow issue:
The first picture is what they call a “threshold of significance” concerning any plan which is instituted and how it could adversely impact someone. It does not refer to digging in the ground. What this means is if closing a road significantly impacts someone (like on the 2nd picture) like a mining claim owner, then it must remain open. This is not a question of “IF” it adversely affects a mining claim owner, it does.
The American’s with Disabilities Act of 1990 (picture 3) also protects against discrimination based on mobility. Requiring a 77 year old man to load up a pack with 80lbs of gear, lunch and water, then requiring him to park two miles from his claim and walk in across the Mojave Desert is in direct violation of this Federal Act period.
In a lawsuit filed by Center for Biological Diversity against the Barstow BLM in the early 2000’s had a Federal judge issue an order that all roads prior to the 1980 survey performed by the BLM and not listed on that survey must remain open because they did not comply with NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act) or FLPMA (Federal Land Policy and Management Act). BLM failed, and failed miserably, their attempt to list the roads being used back then and as a part of this determination, if it wasn’t listed, it stays open. All of the roads used by the Gold Clubs in this area are not listed in that 1980 survey and therefore are to remain open as per a Federal Judge.
RS (Revised Statute) 2477 stems from the 1866 mining act and it specifically relates to roads which were used for the development of this great nation. Over the years, it has been challenged and just recently in a Utah Supreme Court decision, upheld. What does this mean? It means roads predating 1976 must remain open if they are in the public domain. FLPMA, in 1976 tried to change this, but again, it is now settled law. BLM is claiming they won’t recognize this Utah decision because it was not in Federal Court.
Rather than provide you with mind-numbing links and case history, we will allow you to search these acts on your own.
What is quite interesting is the area in question here. On one side of the highway you have mining claims and valuable mineral deposits with claims all over. On the other side you have the designated OHV area. The mining claim side is “critical habitat” and the other side people can do what they want. Does the desert tortoise not cross the double yellow line? Has BLM’s education programs worked so well that a tortoise can understand them?
One last thing we’d like to include here is a page taken right from the WEMO plan itself and is directed solely at the Field Manager concerning her authority. In the 4th picture, it very, very clearly states “Opening or limited opening of routes where valid rights of way or easements of record were not accurately identified in the route designation process”. What this means is Ms. Symons has the “discretion” to open the roads without an administrative review or process. In other words, she could end this whole thing tomorrow by simply removing the signs and recognize the fundamental right of access these claim owners have. We brought this up to Ms. Symons while sitting at a picnic table in Barstow the day before the outing, she stated she did not have any authority to do this. Then Jere, our Board member provided her with this in black and white, taken from her own plan. She disagreed in direct conflict with her own plan.
Here is the text in its entirety on the subject:
The West Mojave Record of Decision would amend the CDCA Plan to adopt the motorized vehicle access network as a component of that Plan. Any significant future modifications of the network, therefore, could only occur through an amendment to the CDCA Plan, including full NEPA compliance, public involvement, inter agency coordination, and the preparation of a Record of Decision for the amendment.
Minor modifications of the network during plan implementation would be allowed, however, without the necessity of a formal plan amendment. FLPMA allows BLM resource management plans (such as the CDCA Plan) to be “maintained as necessary to reflect minor changes in data” (Section 1610.5-4.) Plan maintenance is limited, in that it cannot result in the
expansion of the scope of resource uses or restrictions, or change the terms, conditions and decisions of the approved plan. It is limited to further refining or documenting a previously
approved decision incorporated in the plan. In view of these limitations, “minor realignments” of the route network would be considered to be plan maintenance, and could be made without formal amendment of the plan. “Minor realignments” would include the following:
• Minor realignments of a route necessary to avoid cultural resources sites identified during the process of complying with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
• Minor realignments of a route necessary to reduce impact on sensitive species or their habitats.
• Minor realignments of a route that would substantially increase the quality of a recreational experience, but that would not affect sensitive species or their habitat, or any
other sensitive resource value.
• Opening or limited opening of routes where valid rights of way or easements of record were not accurately identified in the route designation process.
• Access to private in holdings, if such access could not be provided administratively.
As can clearly be seen here, the road should be open. Based on a Federal Judge, based on ADA, based on RS2477, based on the 1866 mining act, which RS2477 is a part of and also based on the fact these miners are not mere guests on these lands. They own real property and as such, are entitled to reasonable access under the law.
While we could write pages and pages of sleep inducing case law and history, we hope you find this helpful and more than sufficient to recognize these people have rights, not a privilege to use their lands.
It is why we went there, it is why we challenged them and it is why we continue to fight.
The San Bernadino Sheriff’s department is in support of the miners and we encourage you to call them and encourage them to continue their support. 888-818-8988
County Supervisor James Ramos (Barstow area) has been informed of this issue, shown support and we would also like you to contact him so he may support the miners. (909) 387-4855
Here is Field Supervisor Katrina Symon’s phone number, perhaps if she heard from a few of you, she might rethink her position:
Barstow Field Office
California Desert District, BLM
2601 Barstow Road
Barstow, CA 92311
Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior oversees the BLM. Ms. Symons boss’s boss’s boss.
Let him know how you feel:
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
Phone (with employee directory): (202) 208-3100
We also request you call your Congressman, your Senator and your Assemblyman to shed some light on this deeply disturbing illegal activity by the Barstow BLM and it’s Field Manager.
We created AMRA with the hopes of receiving donations, but didn’t just want to just ask for them. It is why we now have 100 claims in 6 states. We wanted to give the people something “tangible” for their donations and that was the purpose of all our claims. We encourage you to join us, or make a donation. Lord knows these cases and fights cost money. Just our Federal lawsuit against the USFS over the Taser incident is likely to cost upwards of $50,000. As I write this, I can only shake my head that the people of the United States must sue their own government just to hold them accountable for unbelievable atrocities.
Remember folks, united we stand, divided we fall. We will continue to do what we do, lead by example and will ignore the in-fighting. All we ask is that you get involved, be heard and fight for the next generation, because if we don’t, they will lose what we not only have a right to do, but the freedoms our brave men and women over the years have fought for and lost their lives over. This truly is a fight for our very country.