We have read the decision and while we are not shocked, we are surprised at much of the language they have used, and what they cite as the premise for their decision.
In reading their opinion, primary in preemption for them is hydraulic mining. They claim since there was a defacto ban created by California over 100 years ago and was created by the state, backed by Congress, that creating laws/regulations which run afoul of Federal law is likely what they “intended”. Meaning the CA SC is interpreting that the hydraulic mining of the 1800’s is as destructive as Brandon running a dredge and removing 98% of the mercury, gold and other trash. That it wasn’t stopped must mean that was there intent.There is no comparison in our opinion, none. You must get to “a destructive, or damaging method” to compare the two, otherwise it is like comparing a camp fire to the 260,000 acre Rim Fire a few years ago.
First, there MUST be proof there is damage by dredges. Unlike hydraulic mining, suction dredging does not flood the valley farms and deposit hundreds thousands of yards of sediment in the lower river. There are no studies in which it shows suction dredging harms even one fish. Suction dredging has had a positive impact on the environment, it is political ideology which says it doesn’t, not science.
They interpreted that since the 1866, 1870 and 1872 mining acts did not “expressly” state they could mine, and delineate how, just focused on the “real property” mining right, they are inferring they didn’t mean someone could actually mine the claim, just own it. This is truly absurd. If Congress expressly fought for the right to retain ownership of the mining claim, anyone could come to a reasonable conclusion that they also intended them to MINE the claim.
That there is zero evidence, after over 20 independent, accredited agencies and fisheries biologists have performed exhaustive, expensive and intricate studies on suction dredging that there is no evidence damage to fish or their habitat exists should be a prerequisite to citing a comparison to hydraulic mining.
They have even stated several others courts had it “wrong” and gone against those rulings. The CA Supreme Court just changed the rule of law.
So……what happens now?
The recourse is to take this to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Our research a few months ago showed that there are only 3%, yes, 3% of the cases presented to SCOTUS which are actually then heard by SCOTUS. Not great odds. Although, this case has much more that just a man dredging his case in it, so it might have a higher chance of being heard.
Then we run into the cost of this case if it goes to SCOTUS and how long it would take. It would easily be over 7 figures and would likely take years. PLF, Pacific Legal Foundation, working with Western Mining Alliance (WMA) has expressed interest in Brandon’s case and this is being pursued. They are a great bunch of attorney’s and have a strong history of winning cases similar to this against USFS and BLM. WMA has done a phenomenal job of working with them over the years.
We want to thank Brandon personally for putting his butt on the line and seeing this through. Brandon, AMRA has given you our word, we will do whatever it takes, even if we have to sell our claims to pay off your bills. Your family is NOT going to be left holding the bag for your fight.
It brings into perspective just how important this next Presidential election is, especially if that new President is going to be electing Supreme Court justices.
We will continue to keep everyone posted as to what transpires in this fight for our rights.