Update on what AMRA is currently working on:
We have much going on and many times we don’t openly discuss all the things we are working on behind the scenes.
This weekend, we are hosting a private outing for some wounded veterans at an undisclosed location. AMRA wholeheartedly supports our veterans and frankly are sickened by the way our government treats these heroes by denying them their pay, their medical coverage and how they are treated by politicians. We are humbled by these heroes who faithfully risked their lives for the freedoms we enjoy. We are not requesting any help with this event.
We are finished with our case in Fresno where we solely represented two small miners who were cited last spring for dredging without a permit in CA. This case is being dismissed and is a great victory for suction dredging in CA.
We have 7 separate miners in CA we are currently representing on issue’s with the USFS in California alone either denying them access to their claims, or are demanding they fill out non-necessary PoO’s (Plan of Operations) and NOI’s (Notice of Intents). PoO’s and NOI’s are not required unless a “significant disturbance” is being created and it is the miners responsibility to determine if he is or not. Then they are to contact the Forest Service Ranger for the forms if the miner deems he will cause a significant disturbance. Significant disturbances cannot be created by hand tools as determined by case law. This requires “us” to actually inform the USFS on what their own regulations are and educate them, sometimes even requiring the threat of litigation when they become obstinate and argumentative. Even as we write this post, we have just agreed to represent another miner this morning who is being locked and blocked from his mining claim here in California by the USFS. They apparently do not believe the roads are owned by the public and even though the owner is disabled, the ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act) doesn’t mean anything to the USFS…….we’ll see about that.
We are moving forward on our case with the Stanislaus NF LEO’s (Law Enforcement Officers) where they pulled a Taser on one of our members after illegally demanding they produce ID so the USFS could determine who was “IN THEIR FOREST”. Their law enforcement capacity has been revoked in Mariposa county by Sheriff Binnewies whom we worked very, very closely with on this issue. That is all we are going to say about this right now.
We have been working on SB637 and have testified on behalf of the small miners twice in front of the CA State Senate Committee’s in opposition to this new scheme to ban suction dredging. We all know the political left is in bed with the environmental groups such as Sierra Fund and are going to jam these kind of schemes down our throats no matter what. It takes all of us to stand up, make calls, write letters and stop these bills. When we ask for your help, you must help. Don’t just read about it and get angry, pick up a pen or a phone and stand up with us. We will be having more calls to action coming soon on this horrid bill, please folks, get involved.
We are gearing up for our stand against the EPA again this year in Idaho. The EPA, the single most dangerous government entity in our opinion, is claiming authority under the CWA (Clean Water Act) and requiring suction dredgers in Idaho purchase a “pollutant discharge permit” for dredging even though we have already obtained a dredge permit from the state. This has been decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. Dredging is called “incidental fallback” and it is the soup pot theory we cite frequently. If one dips a ladle into a soup pot, lifts it up and pours it back into the pot is one polluting? NO. Dredging only moves material about 20 feet in the same waterway and in fact, removes 98% of mercury and nearly 100% of the lead, thereby cleaning the streams. Not to mention the fact that it creates fish habitat as proven by dozens of studies over the last 30 years paid for mostly by your tax dollars. The political left is intent on destroying dredging and lie endlessly saying it pollutes as evidenced by the ridiculous testimony from Sierra Fund, the only entity dredging in CA legally. They (a far, far left radical enviro group) received millions of dollars in federal grant money (your tax dollars) to dredge lake combie in CA under the guise they are removing mercury with a destructive cutter dredge which only removes 84% of the mercury compared to our 98%. Back to Idaho…last year, we dredged for two weeks on our AMRA claim up there and challenged the EPA to come cite us, they didn’t. They did send us a letter threatening us with jail and over a half a million dollars in fines. We wrote them back citing the Supreme Court cases and have not heard back. Well, they are at it again, this time with another agency joining in on their scheme, the USFS. We will be there dredging again in opposition as well as supporting John Crossman’s (Occupy the Waters II) event on July 4th in Idaho. We must stand up to tyranny and that is precisely what we intend to do. We have been working with the Idaho lawmakers for over two years now on bills which are pro-mining and hope we see some traction on this soon. By the way, the bill to ban the EPA from Idaho over a year ago came from AMRA.
We are continuing to work with many lawmakers in many states on mining issues too numerous to list individually. Just know that we are well informed on what is going on like the Oregon Galice mining issues, Idaho USFS, Montana USFS and Colorado USFS.
We have miners we are representing in Montana, Idaho, Colorado and South Dakota for various problems with government agencies.
We are partnered with several groups and are trying to expand those partnerships. WMA, New 49’ers, Brandon Rinehart, GPAA and PLP to name a few of the mining groups. We are also reaching out to hunting groups, hiking groups, fishing groups, off-roaders and other public land users to join us in this never ending fight for access to our own lands. We must convince these other groups if we fall, they fall and they must join hands with us.
As most of you know, we have been actively expanding our claim holdings and had many of you step up and volunteer to prospect new locations we found using the WMA pending claim report. We highly recommend if you are interested in awesome claims which are potentially being let go, pick up this report on Western Mining Alliance’s web page, you won’t be disappointed. We now have 41 claims in 4 states and are just about ready to add claims in Washington State. We’ve added 11 claims just in the past three weeks, some very near Sacramento, one in Idaho, one in Arizona and 7 in Oregon alone.
We fight. Fight hard, and we do this on a very limited budget with all volunteers. I’d personally like to thank each one of our AMRA staff, its members and all the volunteers who have helped in one way or another. For a mere $200 donation to the legal fund, your entire family gains access to these gold claims. This is less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week. It is tax deductible. It supports a great cause.
AMRA has came a long way in 2 1/2 years since we formed this non-profit 501(c)(3) Association. It’s been tiring at times, it’s been frustrating at times, but we do this because it is important and we fear what the next generation will be left with if we do not step up and fight.