On top of the fundraiser being sponsored by Western Culture Conservancy, Oregon miners got another gift recently, this time in the form of two amicus curiae briefs: one filed by Mountain States Legal Foundation and one by the Pacific Legal Foundation.
Mountain States Legal Foundation filed its brief on July 21 on behalf of the American Exploration & Mining Association and supports the Oregon miners’ suit for a reversal of Senate Bill 838. SB 838, which went into full effect at the beginning of the year, places a moratorium similar to California’s on suction dredging.
AEMA, based in Washington state, is a nonprofit national trade association that represents more than 2,100 members of the hard rock mining industry located in 41 states and 10 other countries, according to the brief.
“There are few federal policies that have withstood political whim and caprice for 150 years, but Congress’s encouragement and facilitation of the development of the Nation’s mineral resources on federal lands is one of them,” the brief stated. “However, the State of Oregon has completely frustrated Congress’s purpose in authorizing mineral development on federal lands.”
Pacific Legal Foundation submitted its amicus curiae brief July 20 on behalf of itself and the Western Mining Alliance. The brief argues that Oregon’s state law “stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress.” But, the main argument of the brief is that state law has taken precedence over federal law.
“When the objective of federal law requires a balancing of multiple interests, states may not upset that balance by favoring one of those interests over others,” the brief stated.
Despite support from various pro-mining groups, Galice Mining District Recorder Kerby Jackson said Oregon is dragging its feet, much like California did. As of July 26, the State of Oregon requested another 60-day extension for its response to the miners’ complaint.
On the other hand, Jackson received a letter from Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel on Aug. 9 stating that he attended a U.S. Fish and Wildlife meeting in White City, Ore. regarding the ban on small-scale suction dredging. In correspondence from Daniel to Jackson, Daniel stated that he “made (his) intentions clear that (he) would not be conducting any enforcement of such a ban.”
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To enter the drawing, download the entry form online and make checks payable to Western Culture Conservancy. Mail entry and payment to: WCC Drawing, P.O. BOX 1407, Jacksonville, OR 97530 or enter online at http://westerncultureconservancy.blogspot.com.