Mining-Related News and Rants, March 2016
Hello all. I thought I'd take a one-post break from completing my series on a different spin on finding gold to bring you up-to-date on late-breaking news relating to the small-scale mining community. So grab yourself a cup of Joe and let's get to it.
BLM at it Again
Only a year after raising the annual claim maintenance fees for small-scale gold miners to $155.00 per 20 acres, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing an additional hike in fees for this coming year. Why am I not surprised? After all, the Emperor in Washingon, D.C. may not wear any clothes in public but his loyal subjects don't have the balls to call him out on his naked inconsistencies. It's a proven fact that the current administration (or lack thereof) in Washington is pro-greenie and anti-mining. No rocket science there, right folks?
Oh, I know, I know. A few of you out there are shaking your heads from side-to-side and clucking your tongues like old hens. "Well golly, gee, gosh, J.R., a hunnerd and fitty bucks sure don't sound too bad really. Hell, all you gotta do is pull a few grams and you got 'er done for the year." Perhaps. But what you need to remember here is that the new BLM annual fee structure is for EACH 20-acre parcel you have claimed up. I had a 160-acre claim at one point that cost me only $155.00 in its entirety for my annual claim fees under the old BLM structure. When the Emperor's minions changed that a few years back my annual fees went from "a hunnerd and fitty" to $1,240.00 per year, a mere 700% increase in a year's time! That's when I bailed on my claims. By the way, claim ownership dropped by a full 15% when the Emperor's servants announced this new hike. Now, in all their immutable wisdom, the powers at be want to make that percentage skyrocket even higher. Oh, and to add insult to injury, the county assessor or clerk in the county your existing claim is in also has his or her hot little hand out for property tax money that tends to go up slightly each year. That's OK in and of itself, I guess, but it places an additional financial burden on small-scale miners who've been struggling since dredging was removed from the equation out West.
Once again the mercury issue is raising its ugly head in California when it comes to mining the once-golden state's streams and rivers. Sierra Fund crusader and greenie whack job Izzy ("Dizzy") Martin is convinced that trout caught in California's streams are so loaded with mercury that they're totally unfit to eat, let alone catch. God save us all!! Not only that, but those tainted waters filled with heavy metals and all sorts of dredging gasoline and oil leakage are...oh my God...NO! They're flowing into those beautiful lakes filled with froggies and snail darters. It's a catastrophe of epic proportions. "Dizzy," you're right, it means the lakes are unfit for any type of recreational activity at all. The lakes are doomed...and so are we. Do something "Dizzy," do something!! Here we are, sitting on the brink of the End Times and everyone else but you is sitting in Starbucks sipping their venti flat white double macchiotos with an extra shot and whipping cream. Right you are, old girl! You must ask the government for millions of dollars so you can post warning signs stating in no uncertain terms that the rivers and lakes are nothing but contaminated cesspools, virgin waters deflowered by those awful, disgusting miners and their dredges and gold pans.
(That's it "Dizzy," you go get 'em girl!)
It doesn't matter a lick to "Dizzy" and her fellow travelers that most of the existing mercury was dumped into California's streams during the years from 1849-1855. Nope, that fact has no bearing on the issue at hand. It's you disgusting, avaricious, land-raping small-scale gold miners who are responsible for "Dizzy's" bad dreams about the world coming to an end via an ecological Armageddon. It also doesn't matter that the scientific results and data she's waving in front of the state's politicians and greenie crowd were gathered by a "scientist" and researcher who has been a donor and advisor to...yep, guess who? The Sierra Fund!
I swear, I couldn't come up with this shit if I tried.
Idaho Pro-Mining Bill Gets the Axe
Gold dredgers in Idaho lost their bid to get a pro-mining bill passed...I'm assuming at the state level (Legislature perhaps?). The bill was essentially pro-dredging and pro-motorized gear (highbankers with suction intake set ups) and had plenty of support among miners and the common folk in Idaho. However, the bill failed to garner enough votes from the politicians who pass judgement on such mundane issues. Hmmm...I wonder why. Wouldn't have anything to do with the greenie agenda, special interests, or money would it? Nawwww. No way.
Tit for Tat
On a happier note, the California Cattleman's Association and the Pacific Legal Foundation squared of against the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFG) and dropped a lawsuit in their laps! This is what I call taking a trick from the nut-case greenies. The Sierra Club, Sierra Fund, Earth First, and other self-proclaimed environmental "custodians" are always suing those businesses, organizations, and mining associations they find heretical when it comes to Ma Nature, but they aren't used to having that tactic thrown back in their smug, little faces. Essentially, the cattleman and Pacific Legal are taking CDFG to task for their hypocrisy in never missing a beat when it comes to adding new endangered species to state lists, but failing to take other species off those lists once they're no longer endangered. Pacific Legal and the state's cattlemen contend that CDFG has failed to do its job properly and want the State of California to force the CDFG to perform mandatory reviews of their endangered species lists on a regular basis. Isn't is interesting how what works for the greenies is good for the rest of us and what's good for them seldom, if ever, works for us small-scale gold miners, ranchers, cattleman, and business owners? Why is that???
I dunno, I dunno. The general madness continues to swirl around us and the bizarre nature of some of the anti-mining interests out there just amazes me. Most of us, on the other hand, are down-to-earth, pragmatic people who are willing to let others live as they please as long as that doesn't infringe upon us. The other side, however, seems perfectly content to shove their ideology down our throats whether we like the stew they've cooked up or not.
There's something fundamentally wrong with that picture, don't ya think?
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2016
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