May 22, 2015
Suction Dredgers Petition for Injunction to Prevent the State’s Unlawful Actions
“Motion to the Superior Court of San Bernardino to Prevent California from Enforcing its Unconstitutional Moratorium upon Suction Dredging and Return to the 2009 Regulations until they can be Updated in a Way That Does Not Break the Law.”
Update as of 19 May:
Judge Ochoa of the Superior Court of San Bernardino has now issued an Order which confirmed his earlier Ruling that California created an unconstitutional “scheme” of first enacting Section 5653 of the DFW Code which requires suction gold dredgers to obtain a permit from the State, and then enacting Section 5653.1 which prevented DFW from issuing any suction dredge permits. His Order and Ruling declared that both the State’s recently-adopted 2012 dredge regulations and the moratorium preventing the issuance of permits are unconstitutional, illegal and unenforceable.
This was a huge win for our industry!
This Ruling has prompted some people, particularly along the Klamath River in northern California, but also in other places, to resume gold dredging operations. But the Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) has continued to enforce the unconstitutional moratorium. DFW wardens initially were out on the river generally harassing dredgers about breaking the law. They have written some criminal citations. They even seized some equipment. That prompted The New 49’ers a few weeks ago to file for an immediate injunction in Siskiyou County Superior Court to force DFW to stop enforcing a moratorium that has already been found unconstitutional by the California court system. Had we got our day in court, this seemed like it would have been a slam-dunk for our side!
But the State’s attorneys scheduled an immediate hearing in front of the San Bernardino Court, requesting that our motion for an injunction be stopped in Siskiyou County because the California Judicial Council has decided that all suction dredging cases be consolidated and resolved in front of Judge Ochoa. Judge Ochoa agreed, and a hearing date for our motion for relief from DFW’s unlawful actions has been set for 23 June in San Bernardino.
Meanwhile, in an effort to get the matter resolved more quickly, several suction dredgers on the Klamath River refused to sign the promise to appear portion of the criminal citations they were being issued (unlawful dredging), opting instead to be arrested. Ultimately, one of those very courageous guys ended up in jail with The New 49’ers Legal Fund hiring James Buchal to represent him. That hearing in front of a Siskiyou County judge was to take place within 48 hours. Mr. Buchal was motioning the Court to dismiss all charges, order a return of all seized equipment, and order DFW to not bring any further dredging cases in Siskiyou County. Had we got our day in court, this also seemed like it would have been a slam-dunk for our side!
What we had not planned on was that the Siskiyou County jail is completely full of people serving time for felony convictions. Our local sheriff Lopey was objecting strenuously that in order to incarcerate a suction dredger for a rather minor misdemeanor charge, he was going to have to release a hardened criminal back onto the streets. This all caused quite a stir at the jailhouse in Yreka while all the key players were trying to figure out what to do. Ultimately, according to my limited understanding, the District Attorney decided to defer the charges (or something like that) and let the dredger out of jail with no agreement that he appear in court at some later time. Once the dredger was released, the required 48-hour hearing in front of a judge was lost. So it was kind of like being arrested and let go. What can I say; it’s California!
Therefore, as it is now, it does not look like there are any civil or expedited criminal remedies available to us in Siskiyou County to get this rogue agency off our backs.
Yes; I know there are some very important due process issues in play here. We have considered all possible options, and have decided that our best course of action is to wait it out a little longer and place our hope for a 2015 dredging season with Judge Ochoa – who knows more about our plight than any other judge in the country.
Several dredgers have signed a promise to appear (for unlawful dredging) in Siskiyou County on 9 June. I’ll be surprised if the State moves ahead with that, but we shall see.
We filed our opening salvo in San Bernardino yesterday (May 18th). The relief we are asking for is to return to the 2009 suction dredge regulations which were in affect at the time that the unconstitutional moratorium was imposed upon our industry – and stick with those until they can be updated in a way that does not break the law.
I am following with the key moving documents, the proposed Order, supporting Declarations, including several which provide an abundance of science to support our position. The links begin with a letter to the judge explaining that his decision to prevent civil relief in Siskiyou County has prevented suction dredgers from access to any timely due process to prevent the continuing unlawful conduct of DFW. You can see that we are really making our strongest effort to regain hassle-free suction dredging in California this year.
May 4, 2015
Dear Congressman DeFazio:
Someone sent me the following message and You Tube Video which I find disturbing. First of all, I am a retired Multnomah County Parole and Probation Officer and have no interest in looking for precious metals. Also, I have no involvement in the Sugar Pine Mine case. However, I am interested in what goes on in our District and how government officials behave in their interaction with citizens . During my time working for the State of Oregon and Multnomah County, at times I had to deal with the general Public coming to our offices seeking information about agency activities . I always strived to get the correct information to the requesting party without delay. If I did not know the answer, I sought out someone who knew the answer. If you watch the video, you can clearly see that some government employees are not acting in good faith and are evidently stonewalling in giving the aggrieved party the requested information in a timely fashion. The question then becomes: Why?
I am personally lodging a complaint to you about this failure of government employees to perform in the legal and the proper manner . Please check on it and let me know what you find out. I have a couple of dozens fellow citizens I know who would like the answer. I could go directly to BLM management about it, but frankly I no longer trust them to tell the truth since the colossal debacle they created at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada. Hopefully, they will not lie to a US Congressman.
Ronald B. Glynn
3930 Lower Wolf Creek Road
Wolf Creek, Oregon 97497
BLM Won’t Adhere to FOIA, But Gives Sugar Pine Records To 3rd Party
Below is written by Mark Johnson, of Grants Pass, Oregon, and emailed to Liz Bowen, editor of PNP.
Rick Barclay has sent fourteen FOIA requests to BLM for the records to his Sugar Pine Mine. Despite the fact that BLM won’t meet their obligations under the Freedom of Information Act and have sent Barclay very little material to date, the Oregon State BLM Office recently sent a 3rd Party over 370 pages of the mine’s records.
So why are BLM giving uninvolved parties records to the Sugar Pine, but yet are stonewalling Barclay and violating federal laws to provide information under the Congressionally mandated Freedom of Information Act?
Inquiring minds want to know.
The following video is specific to the 14 FOIAs filed by Sugar Pine mine owners — Video was posted on 5-1-15
Apr 12, 2015
Since the San Bernardino Superior Court ruled that California’s gold dredge permitting moratorium is unconstitutional, making their existing regulatory “scheme” unenforceable as a matter of law, we are not going to prohibit suction dredging on our mining properties.
According to its web site, The California Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) appears to be taking the position that the agency does not accept the Court’s ruling; although since the ruling, they have not issued citations to any active suction dredgers as far as we know. We do have active suction dredgers right out in plain sight on the Klamath River, with more excited prospectors arriving every day.
With the Moratorium and 2012 dredge regulations invalidated by the Court, it is difficult to assess which, if any, state regulations remain in effect, though federal rules and regulations do apply.
Since unregulated suction dredge activity is unacceptable on New 49’er properties, we are hereby adopting Emergency Rules concerning suction dredging for the duration of this period of uncertainty. We have carefully crafted these Rules from the DFW suction dredge regulations which applied to our properties during the 2009 season when the illegal moratorium was imposed. They have been modified slightly in consideration of concerns voiced during the San Bernardino legal proceedings, along with the ongoing drought situation in California.
You can read the whole video-enhanced explanation and find the Emergency Rules in our April newsletter here:
For those of you who are not yet New 49’ers members, please consider the special half-price offer on Associate Membership that we are extending to our Internet subscribers:
If you are new to our newsletter, you can read some recent back issues here:
All the best,
The New 49er’s, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039, USA
Mar 16, 2015
Attention gold miners:
GPAA Reno Chapter President Larry Robbins is urging all prospectors and miners to oppose the Bureau of Land Management Carson City District public hearing on the Carson City District Draft Resource Management Plan. The public hearing will take place 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19 at the Churchill County Commission Chamber, 155 N. Taylor St., Fallon, Nev.
“All miners are being asked to attend this meeting as they call it the Carson City District Draft but it extends up to the Oregon Border over to Elko, Nev. and into California,” Robbins said. “They want to close off areas to entry by humans for any reason, close off areas for mineral discovery.”
Gold Prospectors Association of America
Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association
Managing Editor/Communications Director
(951) 699-4749 Ext. 164
Gold Prospectors magazine
Pick & Shovel Gazette
Catch Gold Fever on Outdoor Channel
GPAA website: www.goldprospectors.org
GPAA Land & Country videos
Gold Prospectors Association of America
ATTN: Brad Jones, Managing Editor
P.O. Box 891509
Temecula, CA 92589-1509
Gold Prospectors Association of America
43445 Business Park Drive, Ste. #113
Temecula, CA 92590
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