||SB 370: Oregon
Senator Alan Bates Launches New Attack on Oregon Mining
Were it not enough that miners in Oregon were not already under attack by SB 117 (previously known as LC 2125), in a surprise attack, Oregon State Senator, Alan Bates (D-Ashland) recently submitted his own attack on Oregon placer mining with the introduction of his own bill, SB 370.
Bates, it will be remembered, was a co-sponsor of former State Senator Jason Atkinson's attack on mining in Oregon back in 2011, which drew so much ire from miners throughout the country that he promptly killed his bill, SB 765, stating that the bill was "not worth falling on the sword for" after he publicly "declared war" on miners. Apparently, Senator Alan Bates did not learn much from Jason Atkinson, who recently retired from the political arena after being successfully challenged for his seat by local farmer and forestry worker, Herman Baertschiger Jr.
The new bill, SB 370, which Bates has not yet listed on his own website, seeks to impose greater requirements for miners to obtain permits for so-called "commercial mining" which is not actually even defined in the bill's language but seems to indicate that it may include motorized mining utilizing a suction nozzle with an inside diameter of less than four inches, sets a fee of $125 for the permit (DSL being given 100% liberty to write said permit) and threatens non-compliance with imprisonment and heavy fines.
You can read the bill here.
Galice Mining District Chief Executive Officer, Kerby Jackson, said that the bill is just another recent example of the State of Oregon's attempts to unlawfully over-step their authority over the 1872 Mining Act.
"The lawful authority
of the Oregon Department of State Lands extends only over lands that the
State of Oregon owns or manages," Jackson explained. "As a division
of the Oregon
State Land Board, originally, this authority was limited by the Oregon
Admission Act of 1859 to the State School Lands and the beds of navigable
waterways that were used as common public highways. The intent of Congress
was for the state to utilize the mineral, timber and other resources of
those lands for the benefit of the state. Originally, the
SB 370, Jackson notes, creates a blanket regulation over placer mining anywhere inside the State of Oregon, stating in part:
"a person may not practice commercial placer mining in this state (emphasis added) unless the person acquires a commercial placer mining permit from the Department of State Lands".
The bill goes on to state:
"(2) Commercial placer mining taking place under a permit issued under this section:
(a) May not use a suction nozzle with an inside diameter greater than four inches;
(b) Must occur upstream of all activities specified in rules adopted by the Director of the Department of State Lands;
(c) Must conform to rules adopted by the director regarding the safe placement of gasoline cans; and
(d) Must conform
to any other rules adopted by the director under this section."
The language seems to indicate that any mining that utilizes a suction nozzle with an inside diamater of less than four inches is to be classified as "commercial mining". If this is the case, it remains clear that Alan Bates doesn't know much about mining, since machines of this small size are only rarely used by those who describe themselves as "commercial miners".
The bill also imposes a permit fee of $125 and then imposes stiff penalties for non-compliance, which include 30 days imprisonment and a fine of $1250.
"Let's call it what it really is," Jackson said. "It's nothing more than an attempt to try to create compliance on the part of the miners to obtain an illegal permit from an agency with no authority through the use of inciting fear of loss of freedom or property. We already know that Bates is anti-mining. Isn't that a type of terrorism, when you try fo further a political agenda using the threat of imprisonment through illegal regulation?"
In fact, the Code of Federal Regulations (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85) actually defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.
"Let's be clear about
something," Jackson added. "This legislation is completely inconsistant
with the 1872 Mining Act and is going to create a serious liability problem
for the State of Oregon, not too mention its employees who are expected
to enforce the so-called law if the bill is adopted. The fact is, many
miners are going to refuse to comply for the simple fact that they know
what their rights are. They understand that they have property rights and
a right to benefit from their property. Any agent of the State of Oregon
who goes on the mineral property of those miners and who makes an attempt
to arrest that miner simply for the crime of excercising his rights is
going to find themselves open to not only civil action, but also likely