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Browsing the archives for the Mining category.

Sacramento County reeling from jury’s $107 million verdict against it in mining case

Lawsuits, Mining

March 22, 2017

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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CA Supreme Ct rules against suction dredge miners

Courts, GOLD, Mining

I am very disappointed to announce that the California Supreme Court unanimously overruled the California Third Appellate Court’s unanimous ruling in the Rinehart case.

This is not the end of the story; we are already moving ahead with our next legal remedies. We have outlined the situation in our September newsletter, which can be found here:

http://www.goldgold.com/newsletter-september-2016.html

Being that we may not have the use of motors in our prospecting activities for a while, we devoted these past summer months to developing other ways to remain productive on our extensive properties. With that in mind, we are wondering if members would prefer that we schedule additional group projects which will provide additional exposure to other gold mining techniques, like underwater crevicing, electronic prospecting, and perhaps even underwater suction mining without the use of motors? If you are interested, my invitation for your input can be found in the newsletter.

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:

http://www.goldgold.com/associatememberoffer

If you are new to our newsletter, you can read some recent back issues here:

http://www.goldgold.com/whats-new

All the best,

Dave Mack

The New 49er’s, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039, USA

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California high court upholds ban on dredges to extract gold

Courts, Federal gov & land grabs, Lawsuits, Mining

Los Angeles Times

Associated Press
August 22, 2016

California’s ban on the use of suction dredges to extract gold from rivers is legal and not overridden by a 19th century federal law that allows mining on federal land, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The court’s unanimous decision was a victory for environmentalists and a blow to miners, who argued that the ban essentially stopped gold mining because doing it by hand is labor-intensive and makes the enterprise unprofitable.

Environmentalists say suction dredge mining risks killing fish and stirring up toxic mercury.

The high court’s ruling came in an appeal of a criminal case in which miner Brandon Rinehart was convicted of a misdemeanor for suction dredge mining without a permit in 2012 and sentenced to three years’ probation.

Associate Justice Kathryn Werdegar, writing for the court, said the federal Mining Law of 1872 did not guarantee a right to mine free from regulation.

Instead, its goal was to protect miners’ property rights involving the federal land to which they laid claim, she said.

“The mining laws were neither a guarantee that mining would prove feasible nor a grant of immunity against local regulation, but simply an assurance that the ultimate original landowner, the United States, would not interfere by asserting its own property rights,” she wrote.

Rinehart’s attorney, James Buchal, said the high court showed a “casual disregard” for federal law.

He said Rinehart would probably ask the court to review its ruling or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Suction dredges are powerful underwater vacuums that suck up rocks, gravel and sand from riverbeds to filter out gold.

Miners countered that the state failed to show suction dredge mining killed any fish.

The court’s ruling came more than a century after the famous California gold rush that brought tens of thousands of miners to the state from around the country.

California has experienced a mini-gold rush of sorts in recent years, as low water levels caused by the drought have lured amateur prospectors to riverbed spots that have been out of reach for decades.

There are more than 20,000 mining claims on federal lands in California. Suction dredge mining largely occurs in mountain regions.

California passed a law last year that allows state officials to resume granting permits for suction dredge mining under certain conditions that include making sure the practice does not have any significant effect on fish and wildlife. The conditions have not yet been met, so no permits have been granted.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-gold-prospecting-20160822-snap-story.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Judge tosses case against dredging Snake, Clearwater rivers

Lawsuits, Mining

PNP comment: Well, this is fun!  I believe that this dredger is much bigger than  our little one-man suction dredgers that have been banned in California. For once, the Army Corps was on the right side? Maybe the California decisions were capricious and arbitrary?  — Editor Liz Bowen

Bristol Herold Carrier.com

Posted: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 12:10 pm | Updated: 12:33 pm, Wed Feb 10, 2016.

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — A federal judge in Seattle has dismissed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others that sought to stop dredging of the Snake and Clearwater rivers to make way for barges.

U.S. District Court Judge James L. Robart said in his Tuesday ruling that the plaintiffs were wrong on the merits of their case and lacked standing to bring a lawsuit. The judge also said their complaints were moot because the project is now complete.

The Lewiston Tribune (http://bit.ly/1QrwrhK) said the plaintiffs included Idaho Rivers United, the Nez Perce Tribe and Friends of the Clearwater. The environmental groups and tribe filed their lawsuit in 2014.

They contended that the dredging harmed salmon, steelhead and Pacific lamprey and was not economically justified.

They also claimed the corps failed to consider other options to clear sediment from the navigation channel before it chose dredging as the best way to restore the navigation channel to a depth of 14 feet and a width of 250 feet.

The groups asked for an injunction that would have delayed dredging until the case could be heard. Robart declined and the nearly $10 million dredging project was finished in early 2015.

Robart said the plaintiffs lacked standing because they failed to show fish would suffer any “concrete and particularized” harm from dredging.

The corps concluded that dredging was the only option that would solve the problem in short order and return the channel to its congressionally authorized dimensions.

“Plaintiffs may not agree with the corps’ conclusions, but the corps’ discussion of alternatives complied” with the National Environmental Policy Act, the judge wrote.

More

http://www.heraldcourier.com/news/judge-throws-out-lawsuit-against-dredging/article_b4401c43-02d7-54a6-9e6d-b3f88585eeff.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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California just passed a bill to stop all motorized mining!

GOLD, Mining

Dear Fellow Prospector,

California recently passed a new water bill (SB 637) which goes into affect this coming January. It says there will be no use of motors to excavate or process material for minerals within 100 yards of any active waterway. If allowed to stand, this reduces us down to hand sluices, gold pans, underwater crevicing (with or without hookah systems) and perhaps gravity water systems where possible.

Along with our attorney, we will be working out a strategy to challenge the new law. Since we have not been getting any meaningful relief in State court, I’ll likely be pushing for a federal challenge this time.

More about this, along with an update on all of the other legal challenges we are working on, can be found on the following page:

http://www.goldgold.com/legal-update-mid-october.html

Here is a reminder that all these matters are costing money. We are looking towards you guys to support our ongoing legal fund-raiser. The Legal Fund will be giving away 2 ounces of gold nuggets and plenty of other goodies in less than two weeks. You can find out more right here:

http://www.goldgold.com/legal-fund-raiser-august-2015.html

Thanks for anything you guys can do to help!

The New 49er’s, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039, USA

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Siskiyou Superior Court will hold hearing on Keith Darrah case 8-21-2015

Keith Darrah case, Mining, Siskiyou County

The Keith Darrah Hearing on Friday 21st starts at 8:30 AM in Karen Dixon’s Courtroom in Yreka.

The hearing is the final hearing in Superior Court on the Writ of Mandamus.

The question is whether the Board of Supervisors’ hearing, in which the county spent $312,000 on attorneys to prosecute Keith Darrah and his gravel pit was flawed.

Did the BOS deny him a fair and impartial hearing when they denied him the right to subpoena witnesses?

There are three possible outcomes:

1. The court could remand the case back to BOS further proceedings with the right to subpoena.

2. The court could say the BOS was wrong and reverse their decision. or

3. The court could say the county BOS did nothing wrong.

The attorneys for Keith Darrah would like the court room packed with concerned citizens. 

This has been a long drawn-out case, which started about 10 years ago.

For background on the hearing held 3 years ago, type “DARRAH” in the SEARCH box on the top left side of this website.

— Editor Liz Bowen

 

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Dave McCracken — newest on suction dredge court case

GOLD, Lawsuits, Mining, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

June 24, 2015

As you may have already heard, Judge Ochoa denied our motion yesterday for injunctive relief to prevent the Department of Fish & Wildlife from harassing suction dredgers in California. Walt Wegner from PLP accurately summed up the situation right here:

http://us10.campaign-archive1.com/?u=de6c377ae04a6549d70c62f74&id=019529e960&e=733328e9e8

Please allow us a little more time to consult with our attorney about our next move. I have not yet given up on saving the 2015 dredging season. No doubt, everybody was reeling in shock from yesterday’s ruling. It’s important that our strategy is decided with a clear head. We are discussing several options. I’ll sound out as soon as we decide what we will do next.

Meanwhile, I would like to remind everyone that we will be doing a legal drawing this coming Saturday evening at our weekly potluck in Happy Camp. We are giving away some fantastic prizes. You can find out more right here:

http://www.goldgold.com/legal-fund-raiser-march-2015.html

Under the circumstances of yesterday’s Ruling, our legal war chest needs replenishment. With several days remaining until the drawing, I am concerned more than ever that legal support is not flowing in as it normally does.

Therefore, as an added incentive to encourage you guys, we have reached into New 49’er gold reserves and extracted
2 ounces of beautiful gold nuggets. As long as The Legal Fund receives at least 100 more contributions between now and noon this Saturday, 27 June, these nuggets, along with more gold and silver coins, will be used as prizes in the next Legal Fund drawing which will take place on
30 October this year. Check out the new Paypal link on the page above, or you can call our office at 530 493-2012.
Here is a look at the nuggets.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-New-49ers-Prospecting-Association/1396597950668824?ref=hl

As always, we very much appreciate your support of our efforts!

Dave McCracken
The New 49’er Legal Fund

The New 49er’s, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039, USA

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Fate of our 2015 gold dredging season to be decided soon!

GOLD, Lawsuits, Mining, State gov

To supporters of gold mining:

You guys might be interested to read the Reply material we just filed with the San Bernardino Court in response to the State and Karuk Opposition to our motion for an Injunction to prevent the Department of Fish & Wildlife from continuing to criminally enforce the suction dredge moratorium which has already been ruled as unconstitutional.

We worked very hard on this Reply, since it is the closest we have been to a return of hassle-free suction dredging in California during the past 6 years. You can find our Reply documents towards the bottom of this page:

http://www.goldgold.com/suction-dredgers-petition-for-injunction-to-prevent-the-states-unlawful-actions.html

Hopefully, the Court will grant an injunction during the hearing which is set to take place this coming Tuesday morning on June 23rd.
I will forward an update as soon as we know the outcome.

Here is a reminder that all this legal work is costing a fortune.
I am concerned that The New 49’er Legal Fund ongoing fund-raiser has still not generated very much interest from most of our regular supporters.

There only remains about a week before we will be giving away some incredible prizes. Our new Paypal link makes it very easy to provide us with some needed encouragement. You can find out more about the ongoing fund-raiser right here:

http://www.goldgold.com/legal-fund-raiser-march-2015.html

Thank you very much for anything you can do to support our efforts!

Dave McCracken
The New 49’er Legal Fund

The New 49er’s, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039, USA

 

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With new ruling in U.S. District Court, Pebble Mine case advances

Clean Water ACT - EPA, Mining

Erica Martinson

A federal judge ruled Thursday to allow part of a case over the proposed Pebble mine project to move forward, laying the groundwork for a long legal fight over the Environmental Protection Agency’s interaction with anti-mine activists.

The decision advances one of several cases involving Pebble Limited Partnership, which wants to develop a massive gold, copper and molybdenum mine worth hundreds of billions of dollars about 200 miles southwest of Anchorage in Alaska’s most prolific salmon habitat.

Opponents of the mine solicited help from the EPA and argue that it could potentially devastate salmon fishing in the Bristol Bay watershed.

The case proceeding in U.S. District Court in Anchorage is over claims by Pebble that the agency formed “de facto” federal advisory committees to advise the agency on the mine. In doing so, Pebble argued, the EPA didn’t solicit balanced viewpoints or follow requirements for public and transparent meetings.

But U.S. District Court Judge Russel Holland tossed three other claims by Pebble against the EPA, including the mine company’s assertions that the EPA conspired with anti-mining groups.

Pebble CEO Tom Collier called Thursday’s decision “a significant victory for Pebble.”

The case is by no means over.

On Thursday, Holland ruled it “plausible” that the EPA improperly “utilized” input from anti-mine groups in drafting the Bristol Bay Watershed study, and shot down the agency’s effort to get the full case dismissed.

Holland didn’t find Pebble’s other claims convincing. He sided with the EPA on charges that the agency “established” groups of anti-mine activists, scientists and an anti-mine group to assess the Bristol Bay watershed.

Now Pebble has to prove itself on the charges that remain.

“We are convinced the EPA has pursued a biased process against our project that then drove their actions toward a predetermined outcome. Our fight with the EPA has been about a fair and transparent process for objectively evaluating a development plan for our project once we have presented it via the permitting process,” Collier said.

Groups who have been fighting the mine were disappointed with the ruling, but said they’re confident EPA would come through the case unscathed.

“We are extremely disappointed and frankly angered that Pebble’s delay tactics are working,” said Kimberly Williams, executive director of Nunamta Aulukestai, a coalition of Native tribal organizations based in Dillingham.

“If further litigation is the price necessary to protect the Bristol Bay fishery and our traditional way of life, then it will be well worth it,” said Robert Heyano, president of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay.

“The company’s complaints about the federal advisory process — a process Pebble itself participated in — in no way changes the scientific fact that this mine, in this place, will devastate our fishery,” Heyano said.

More

http://www.adn.com/article/20150604/new-ruling-us-district-court-pebble-mine-case-advances

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NEWEST !!! From New 49ers in Happy Camp. May 19, 2015

CA & OR, California Rivers, Dept. Fish & Game, GOLD, Lawsuits, Mining, Siskiyou County, State gov

Suction Dredgers Petition for Injunction to Prevent the State’s Unlawful Actions
Legal Affairs

“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.

http://www.goldgold.com/suction-dredgers-petition-for-injunction-to-prevent-the-states-unlawful-actions.html

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