Bates' office protested over mining regulation

August 31, 2013 

By Sam Wheeler
for the Mail Tribune


Upset over stricter mining regulations imposed by the passage of state Senate Bill 838, a group of about 10 disgruntled miners protested Friday outside the Medford medical office of Sen. Alan Bates, D-Medford.

The bill, co-sponsored by Bates, was strongly backed by the environmental camp and vigorously opposed by the mining community before signed into law by Gov. John Kitzhaber on Aug. 14.

"They say we're evil miners killing the fish. I say the same thing I've been telling environmentalists forever, 'Show me a peer-reviewed scientific study that shows what harm we cause.' There is no science to back that," said Rick Barclay, 55, of Ruch.

Barclay said he has rights to three claims on the Applegate River and acquires about half his income from mining.

"When did we start writing laws based on gut feelings instead of science?" said Daniel Collins, 46, of Happy Camp, Calif. "They want to portray us as recreational miners who aren't serious, but I make my living off mining."

Collins partners with Derek Eimer, 47, of Happy Camp, on three claims they hold on Galice and Chieftain creeks in Southern Oregon.

"We've pulled out a pound of gold so far this year. That's not recreational mining," Eimer said. "We have a legal right to those minerals."

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