The views and opinions expressed in this editorial are solely those of the author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the GPAA
This year holds the promise of a presidential election, and there’s no doubt that after seven years of ever-increasing restrictions, the small-scale mining community is hoping to see some light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve seen hikes in mining claim fees, mining rights shattered, dredging bans, and costly court battles that are still on the docket. We’ve also seen President Barack Obama sidestep Congress and declare land grabs in the form of massive national monuments by executive order.
Quite frankly, Obama’s plan to “fundamentally transform America” does not set well with miners who respect existing federal mining laws and the U.S. Constitution. In fact, many miners want to see some pushback, not only by the next president but by so-called establishment Republicans who currently control both the House and Senate.
While I’m NOT publicly endorsing any politician, Donald Trump has certainly made a lasting impression since he stormed the political arena last summer. And, whether you’re a Trump hater or supporter, there is just no denying that the New York billionaire tapped into the mood of many working class Americans with a simple phrase once made famous by former President Ronald Reagan: “Make America Great, Again.” These four words are resonating with many people and so it’s no wonder Trump was quick to trademark the slogan.
As a country, we need to make a lot of things great again, including mining. But, it’s not going be Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or any other presidential wannabe who is going to make it happen. It’s not up to the Gold Prospectors Association of America; it’s not up to Public Lands for the People; it’s not up to the American Mining Rights Association. It’s up to We, the People—and you, the voter! So, please make your vote count and your voice be heard.
Like everything in life, there is a healthy balance, give and take, yin and yang. And yes, there is a balance between the environment and responsible mining. However, the political decisions and policies that regulate mining activity are no longer based in reality; they are based on a radical environmental agenda and tainted science propped up by lawyered-up lobby groups.
Bypassing Congress, the president rules as the kings of old by some sort of divine right and by very undemocratic backdoor rule-making through federal agencies. National monuments spanning hundreds of thousands of acres are most likely not what President Theodore Roosevelt intended when he signed the Antiquities Act into law on June 8, 1906. This law gives the president of the United States the authority to, by presidential proclamation, create national monuments from public lands to protect significant natural, cultural or scientific features. But, in today’s political climate, environmentalists seem to want everything “protected for future generations,” rather than allow prospecting, mining, grazing and water rights for today.
Eventually, mining will make a comeback. It has to because essentially sustainable development is not sustainable without the minerals and metals used in virtually everything. But, unless We, the People, reclaim our right to access, prospect and mine on public lands and rein in our runaway government in Washington, we’re going to end up with something much different than a constitutional republic, which is what really needs to be “protected for future generations.”
BRAD JONES, Managing Editor