BREAKING NEWS: After twelve years of litigation including two separate (but similar) lawsuits, numerous appeals, and being declared moot twice; we are happy – no, THRILLED, to announce that . . .
. . . WE FINALLY GET OUR DAY IN COURT!
On November 9th, the Oregon Supreme Court granted review of the June 2, 2017 Oregon Court of Appeals decision affirming that court’s 2009 decision that suction dredge mining requires both Clean Water Act (CWA) permits – even though the CWA specifically states that for a single discharge only one (1) permit is required, and for dredging operations, a NPDES permit is not required.
ORAL ARGUMENTS ARE SCHEDULED FOR:
MAY 10, 2018, at 1:30 p.m.,
Oregon Supreme Court courtroom
1163 State Street, Salem, OR.
Petitioners EOMA/WMD et al. have 28 days (from 11/09) to file a brief on the merits, followed by up to 28 days for a response by DEQ.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE EOMA/WMD v DEQ CASE:
WMD NEWSLETTER APRIL 2017
CLICK HERE TO READ THE APRIL 2017 WMD NEWSLETTER
SB 838 / SB 3
In the case of BOHMKER et al. vs. OREGON (on appeal in the U.S. 9th Circuit), we were informed by the court last summer that a hearing would be scheduled sometime in November, 2017. As of this posting, we have not heard from the court. This could change at any time, check here for updates on this case.
This suit was originally filed against SB 838, which pursuant to SB 3, SB 838 is revoked as of January 1, 2018 (and then SB 3 becomes effective).
There was some worry upon passage of SB 3 that the State would move to declare our challenge to SB 838 moot. However, our arguments that if anything, SB 3 is more restrictive (as a permanent prohibition) of rights granted under the Mining Law than 838 were persuasive; and the State & court agreed.
This means the U.S. 9th Circuit will be ruling on whether states have the authority to out-right prohibit the use of certain mining equipment rather than regulate the effects. A win by miners in Oregon could easily influence the situation in California.
SEE BELOW FOR MORE ON SB 838 & SB 3
ON MONDAY, APRIL 10, THE OREGON SENATE
VOTED AND PASSED SENATE BILL 3 (SB 3).
AS INTRODUCED, SB 3 WOULD HAVE GREATLY ENLARGED THE AREA CLOSED TO MOTORIZED IN-STREAM PLACER MINING TO INCLUDE THE WHOLE STREAM AND ITS TRIBUTARIES, IF ANY PORTION OF THE STREAM IS DESIGNATED AS ESSENTIAL SALMON HABITAT (ESH).
IN EARLY APRIL, AFTER SEVERAL ROUNDS OF HEARINGS, WORKSHOPS, AND AMENDMENTS, THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT & NATURAL RESOURCES VOTED AND ACCEPTED SB 3-8 AND SENT IT TO THE SENATE FLOOR FOR A VOTE, WHERE IT PASSED AND BECAME “SB 3A ENGROSSED”, AND NOW GOES TO THE HOUSE WHERE ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.
SB 3A REVOKES SB 838 AND THE 5-YEAR MORATORIUM.
SB 3A PUTS IN PLACE A PERMENANT BAN ON ALL MOTORIZED IN-STREAM MINING EQUIPMENT IN ALL ESH SEGMENTS.
SB 3A REDUCES PERMITTABLE DREDGES TO THOSE WITH 4” ID SUCTION HOSE OR SMALLER.
SB 3A PLACES NEW RESTRICTIONS AND CONDITIONS ON DREDGING.
SB 3A “ALLOWS” NON-MOTORIZED GRAVITY OR SYPHON DREDGES IN ESH.
SB 3A ALLOWS EQC TO SET PERMIT FEES AS HIGH AS $250 PER YEAR WITH A $250 INITIAL APPLICATION FEE (I.E.; UP TO $500 1ST YEAR PERMITTING).
SB 3A CALLS FOR UP TO $2,000 FINE FOR VIOLATION.
EOMA/WMD v DEQ
May 4, 2017
JULY 14, 2016 - OREGON SUPREME COURT RULES THAT OUR ISSUE IS LIKELY TO EVADE REVIEW AND IS REMANDED BACK TO THE COURT OF APPEALS.
After 12+ years of litigation and having been declared moot twice, we FINALLY get the opportunity to argue our case against the December 2009 Decision by the Oregon Court of Appeals which stated that we needed BOTH Clean Water Act permits for suction dredge mining!
ORAL ARGUMENTS WILL HELD AT
9AM, THURS. MAY 4, 2017,
IN THE OREGON COURT OF APPEALS
OREGON SUPREME COURT BUILDING
1163 STATE ST. SALEM, OREGON
THE PUBLIC MAY ATTEND
Oregon miners must win against SB 838 (and SB 3) AND win against DEQ’s prohibitively restrictive 700PM permit if we are to ever have peace in our time.
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS BY ENTERING
THE 1/2 LB OF GOLD DRAWING!
DECEMBER 2017 MEETING CANCELED
Until further notice, the Waldo Mining District and the Galice Mining District will be holding monthly Joint General Meetings beginning FRIDAY, JANUARY 5, 2018..
WHEN: 1ST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH, 6-9PM
WHERE: “REDWOOD” GRANGE HALL
1830 REDWOOD AVE., G. PASS
Meetings start at 6pm with a Pot Luck Dinner.
DIRECTIONS - From CJ: On 199 turn L onto Dowel Rd (Farmers Bldg. Ct.) to Redwood Ave.. Turn R onto Redwood Ave., go about 2-3 blocks, the Grange Hall is to the left (north) set back from road. Look for the single huge steel power pole.
From G. Pass: Going south exit 199 just past Fairgrounds onto Redwood Ave.. Grange hall is about 1/4 mile before Dowel Rd. on the right (north). Look for the single huge rusty steel power pole.
All meetings are open to the public
MINERS v SB 838
OPENING BRIEF FILED
JULY 15, 2016 – THE MINERS FILE OPENING BRIEF IN THE U.S. 9TH CIRCUIT APPEALING MAGISTRATE’S ORDER OF MARCH 25, 2016 UPHOLDING SB 838.
JULY 20 - PACIFIC LEGAL FOUNDATION SUBMITS AMICUS BRIEF SUPPORTING MINERS.
JULY 21 - AMERICAN EXPLORATION & MINING ASSOCIATION SUMITS AMICUS BRIEF SUPPORTING MINERS.
The State and Intervenors had until August 15, 2016 to file a Response, but instead they requested a 60-day extension and filed Responses on October 14, 2016.
“CLICK HERE” TO READ THE STATE’S RESPONSE BRIEF
“CLICK HERE” TO READ THE INTERVENOR’S RESPONSE
THE STATE AND INTERVENOR’S RESPONSES WERE FOLLOWED BY THREE AMICUS BRIEFS FILED IN SUPPORT OF SB 838
“CLICK HERE” TO READ THE AMICUS BRIEF FILED BY WESTERN PUBLIC LAND LAW PROFESSORS JOHN D. LESHY ET AL. 10/20/16
“CLICK HERE” TO READ THE AMICUS BRIEF FILED BY THE U.S. DEPT. OF JUSTICE 10/21/16
“CLICK HERE” TO READ THE AMICUS BRIEF FILED JOINTLY BY THE STATES OF CALIFORNIA AND WASHINGTON 10/22/16
NOV. 28, 2016 – MINERS FILE REPLY TO THE STATE & INTERVENOR’S RESPONSES AND TO THE 3 AMICUS BRIEFS SUPPORTING SB 838.
“CLICK HERE” TO READ THE MINER’S REPLY
THIS SHOULD FINISH THE BRIEFING OF THE MINER’S APPEAL TO THE U.S. 9TH CIRCUIT COURT REGARDING SB 838 . . . AND NOW WE WAIT FOR SCHEDULING FROM THE 9TH CIRCUIT COURT FOR A HEARING (IF NECESSARY), OR A DECISION BASED ON THE WRITTEN BRIEFS.
CHECK HERE FOR UPDATES, AND SEE BELOW FOR MORE ON SB 838.
CURRENT OFFICERS & BOARD OF THE WMD
VICE PRESIDENT: Don Young
TREASURER: Mark Wagnell
SECRETARY: Sarah Bohmker
In addition to the Officers, Board Members are: Kat Alley, Dave Bargelt, Bob Barton, Josh Bohmker, Frank Serroni, and Bob Stumbo.
WMD MEMBERSHIP INFO
WARNING - To all past WMD members: After a long period of not putting out Newsletters, the WMD sent out Newsletters to all past members in May, and again in June of 2016. Some of you may have moved over the years and may not have gotten the Newsletters. Both 2016 Newsletters warned members if their dues were due, and mentioned that if dues were not received before our next Newsletter (planned for sometime in August) then we will unfortunately have to remove you from our Membership List.
THE STATE OF OREGON
MOST SMALL-SCALE IN-STREAM
MOTORIZED PLACER MINING!
In 2013, Sen. Alan Bates (Dem.) (District 3, Medford/Ashland) and the Oregon legislature passed Senate Bill 838, which was signed into law by the Governor.
SECTION 2 OF SB 838 CALLS FOR A “FIVE YEAR MORATORIUM ON THE USE OF ALL MOTORIZED PLACER MINING EQUIPMENT” IN:
1) ALL STREAMS DESIGNATED ESSENTIAL SALMON HABITAT (ESH), OR HAVE NATIVE BULL TROUT OR LAMPREY EELS; AND
2) 100 YARDS TO EITHER SIDE OF ESH+ STREAMS FROM THE NORMAL HIGH-WATER MARK IF OPERATIONS WILL DISTURB STREAMSIDE VEGETATION IN A MANNER THAT WILL EFFECT WATER QUALITY.
“Motorized Equipment” includes any internal combustion or stream engine, electric motors including battery operated pumps, gold wheels, mini-concentrators, etc..
No Pumps, No Dredges, No Hi-Bankers, No Power Sluices, No backhoes, No excavators, No trommels or washplants, No air-compressors (for breathing underwater) = NO MINING!
[NOTE: The only exemption is for placer operations requiring DOGAMI permitting
(i.e.; move more than 5,000 c/yrds/yr), or in the few NON-ESH STREAM SEGMENTS.]
VIOLATION IS A CLASS A MISDEMEANOR
(UP TO $6,250 FINE AND ONE YEAR IN JAIL).
ON OCTOBER 19, 2015, THE GALICE & WALDO MINING DISTRICTS (ET AL) FILED SUIT IN FEDERAL COURT (MEDFORD) AGAINST THE STATE OF OREGON & SB 838.
ON FEBRUARY 18, 2016, A HEARING WAS HELD IN MEDFORD, AND ON MARCH 25, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE MARK CLARKE RULED THAT A BAN ON MOTORIZED EQUIPMENT WAS NOT A BAN ON MINING AND UPHELD SB 838.
ON April 7, 2016, THE MINERS FILED AN APPEAL PETITION WITH THE U.S. 9TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS, WITH OUR OPENING BRIEF DUE JULY 14, 2016.
“CLICK HERE” FOR MORE ON SB 838
AND THE LITIGATION AGAINST IT.
WE NEED YOUR HELP & SUPPORT !
THE WALDO & GALICE MINING DISTRICTS OF SW OREGON HAVE RETAINED ATTORNEY JAMES BUCHAL TO HOPFULLY STOP THE MORATORIUM.
This litigation has cost $1,000’s of dollars…
and $1,000’s more will be needed before
we have any chance of winning.
Ask yourself this:
What’s it worth to YOU to be able
to continue mining in Oregon . . .
. . . and then PLEASE make a Donation to reflect that worth.
EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS!