Update from Dave McCracken on 10/17/2014
Mining industry wins big in California!
I sent out a notice to everyone as soon as we found out that
the Third Appellate in California issued a landmark Decision
in support of small-scale mining. Then, after you guys directed
an avalanche of letters to the Court, they further decided to
formally publish their Decision. The Decision is full of legal
reasoning which supports our arguments that the State does not
have the authority to materially interfere with the commercial
viability of mining on the public lands.
Our industry has been held down by unreasonable over-regulation
for so long, it is going to take some time to absorb how
far-reaching the implications are by this published Decision.
As promised, I have explained some of my own reasoning in our
October newsletter why the published Decision has completely
turned our situation around. I have also dropped the "500-pound bomb,"
suggesting that the Third Appellate has inferred that dredgers do not
need a permit from the State to operate a suction dredge if
the State is refusing to issue them!
You can find it all right here:
Gold Miners Want to Dredge Streams with Power Pumps
By MARIA DINZEO
9/16/09 Article courtesy of: Courthouse News Service.
SACRAMENTO (CN) - Gold miners claim California violated their constitutional right to suck gold out of river beds and streams with power dredging equipment. The state is causing "serious economic hardship" for the suction miners to preserve habitat for Coho salmon, according to the federal complaint.
Public Lands for the People called California's Senate Bill 670 "regulation run riot." SB 670 will prohibit stream mining with dredging equipment and stop mining permits from being issued.
The group says today's prospectors have legitimate mining claims on public land. Disabled Vietnam veteran Terry Stapp, who supplements his income by sucking gold out of Sierra County riverbeds, says the "economic loss is devastating," as Internet sales of mined gold are "a necessity to financially survive."
The miners say California's plan to protect salmon is specious, since "the prohibition would take place whether or not there were Coho salmon, trout, minnows or any fish whatsoever in any of the state's waters."
It's not the first time the organization has accused the government of constitutional and statutory violations. In June, Public Lands claimed U.S. Forest Service agents were trying to rein in prospectors and their equipment by closing unauthorized mining roads in the Eldorado National Forest for the sake of conservation.
Attorney David Young, representing the group in both cases, said gold mining is a quintessentially American pastime, hearkening back to when gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in 1848.
"This is a tradition that's part of being a Westerner," Young said. "There are an awful lot of people who want to pass this legacy on to their children."
Young, who said the government has overstepped its bounds and will continue to do so if unchecked, noted the "difference between just valuing the land and using the land to preserve human life. We are operating under federal law here, mining laws that go back well over a century without having to get huge government permission to do this and that. It's part and parcel of how people live here in this country."
Public Lands seeks damages and wants the state enjoined from enforcing SB 670.