Here is an update on some of the issues we are tackling right now. As most of you know, we just got back two weeks ago from dredging in opposition to the EPA’s over-intrusive and ridiculous regulation stating suction dredgers need to purchase a “pollutant discharge permit” even though the state is, and has been issuing permits for dredging. This new regulation disregards the Supreme Court ruling stating there is no pollutant added. But then, the EPA isn’t your ordinary agency anymore. They claim it is about the fish. Dredging is not allowed during spawning season and dredging has conclusively been studied for years and proves the tailing piles create spawning habitat. Proof of this can be seen by California right now trucking in (at tax payers expense) small gravels and dumping them into tributaries of the American river to create spawning habitat. Simple solution….let small miners dredge. This would create new spawning beds, generate hundreds of millions of dollars for CA’s economy and clean the rivers of mercury and lead. John spent over a month up in Idaho, two weeks supporting the “Occupy the Waters” event put on by SWIMA and two weeks for AMRA. Mike spent three weeks up there. Thank you gentlemen.
We filed a FOIA request (freedom of information act) on the file from USFS for the man we are representing who has owned a placer claim since 1972. They are claiming they have the surface rights even though there are two bills passed by Congress (1866 and 1872) which say otherwise. They are even claiming he doesn’t have Riparian rights in opposition to the Supreme Court. We asked for the entire file and any correspondence associated with it. They did not meet the 20 day requirement, and instead sent us a letter nearly 45 days after our (certified) request stating we need to pay them $1,244.79 for them to copy and review the documents before they can send them. They also claim they need to review them for potential “redaction”. Sounds like someone is afraid there is some incriminating information contained. This is a public management agency telling the public it will cost over a thousand dollars for them to have a copy of a public file. Something is very wrong here folks.
We are representing small miners in Colorado, Montana (2), Arizona (2), and about 5 here in CA. All over USFS denying access to valid mining claims. This is in direct violation to Federal law. We are also representing the folks up in Idaho on some ridiculous regulations such as not being able to use a winch to move rocks on your mining claim. I honestly don’t know how they come up with this stuff.
We are continuing to support PLP and the Brandon Rinehart case, although it hasn’t been much lately since we just haven’t had many people join. Why? We don’t know. We’ve created the perfect business model, tax deductible, great claims, and the money fights for their rights. We encourage you to reach out and send a few bucks to Jerry and/or Brandon, we all know they could surely use it and really the future of dredging in CA hinges on these two cases.
We put a lot of pressure on the Stanislaus National Forest to re-open the roads to mining claim owners and were finally successful (for the most part) in getting East Bay Prospectors access to their claims which they were unable to visit for nearly a year. This required multiple meetings and the threats of civil action against those who violate our rights. Susan Skalski announced her retirement 3 days after our last meeting. Good luck Susan, you’re awful young to be retiring. Guess the USFS must have one heck of a retirement plan for 40 something forestry workers.
We just added 7 new claims we acquired from Sierra Prospectors, they were kind enough to vote to donate them to AMRA. John and I have been busy this week checking markers, putting up new signs and cleaning up all the trash left from campers.
We spent two full days on the paperwork for all our claims in Arizona, Idaho and California. Taxes need to be paid. Yes taxes, property taxes. Any doubt that a mining claim is “real property in every sense of the word” like the 9th Circuit has ruled?
We’ve been writing some articles for some publications, speaking at events, meetings and will be at the Sonora Gold Show on the 23rd and 24th. We are putting together our booth and sure hope you mark this on your calendar and attend in 1 week. It is at the Sonora Fairgrounds in 8 days.
We will be adding a new tab on our website. “for sale”. We get many requests from people who wish to sell a dredge, highbanker or even a gold claim for a place to sell the items. We are creating that for you. We know of several gold claims people should buy, they truly are that good.
We could use some new members, we have legal bills to pay and would like to do many, many more things legally, but it all takes money. We have added a new feature on our site. You can now support AMRA with a $5 monthly donation. Remember, this goes to fight for your mining rights, not privileges, but your fundamental right to mine.
We appreciate your support……….greatly.