Miners call on Trump for day in court
Land rights groups push for SCOTUS to hear Rinehart case
By Brad Jones
Gold miners are calling President Donald Trump’s attention to California’s statewide ban on suction dredge mining over recent developments in a high-profile court case.
The case involves Brandon Rinehart, a California gold miner who was cited in 2012 for suction dredging without a permit on his own mining claim. Though the state required that Rinehart obtain a state permit, it refused to issue permits. Outraged over this Catch-22 situation, the small-scale mining community has backed Rinehart in his five-year legal battle.
The Supreme Court of California ruled against Rinehart in its decision handed down Monday, Aug. 22, 2016. But, the high profile case caught the attention of Pacific Legal Foundation which has supported Rinehart in his petition to the Supreme Court of the United States.
California’s “two-year moratorium” on suction dredge mining was imposed in 2009. It was signed into law by then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and continues today. The moratorium has dragged on so long that miners now call it a de facto ban.They claim that justice delayed is justice denied.
Mining rights groups, including Public Lands for the People, American Mining Rights Association, Western Mining Alliance, and the New ’49ers, support Rinehart’s SCOTUS petition.
On Dec. 7, 2017, the U.S. Solicitor General’s office had submitted an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court recommending that the petition be denied. Since then, AMRA, PLP, WMA and the New 49’ers have launched a letter-writing campaign and have urged miners to write directly to the White House.
Poe blasted Solicitor General Noel Francisco, alleging that one of the brief’s co-authors, Lane McFadden, is a “radical environmentalist attorney.”
“It seems rather concerning that Lane McFadden, who has been at the heart of … having Brandon Rinehart prosecuted for suction dredging on his mining claim, is now writing this brief or is a major part of writing it,” Poe said.
AMRA’s facebook page states: “Mr. McFadden is part of this fetid swamp and has striven to shut down small mining in California for years. Mr. McFadden is ideologically aligned with the political and totalitarian left and his brief sounds like it was written on behalf of George Soros himself … Mr. McFadden has fought to shut down small miners during Mr. Rinehart’s search for justice and his brief telling SCOTUS not to take Mr. Rinehart’s case is downright reprehensible … How did Mr. McFadden come to co-write this brief and why is he working for Mr. Francisco?”
Mining rights groups are now urging more than a million mining claim owners across the country to write and call the White House requesting that Rinehart’s case finally be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
According to Poe, a direct path to Trump is the best route to take.
“That’s the thing,” Poe said. “Who do you appeal to? Really it’s the Solicitor General himself. He needs to retract the brief.”
“Every letter written to Trump administration should mention how many people the mining laws affect, and it’s over a million people,” Poe said. “The environmentalists and progressives are afraid to put Brandon Rinehart in front of the Supreme Court because if he wins that would change everything. It’s a good case. It’s one where the big jackboot of government is stomping down on the little guy. It’s all about property rights as well as mining law, so there are a lot of different tentacles ... Looking at that as the big picture, I think it’s very, very ripe for the Supreme Court to consider it.”
PLP President Ron Kliewer and WMA President Craig Lindsay have also urged miners to call the White House and write letters.
AMRA has been sending letters to Trump for several months asking for relief from overregulation and casting allegations of miners being bullied by the U.S. Forest Service, Poe said.
“Trump answered my letters in August,” Poe said. “That prompted a conference call with the head of the U.S. Forest Service over allegations I included in my letters to Trump. And, just in the last week we’ve seen a dramatic change in the attitude of the Forest Service, especially up in Idaho.”
WMA website: www.TheMiningAlliance.com
Write or call the White House:
(For sample letters, go to PLP or AMRA websites listed above)
Background articles and links:
Solicitor General’s amicus curiae brief:
Brad Jones is a freelance writer based in Southern California. He can be reached at AmericanLibertyPost@gmail.com