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 OCTOBER 28, 2012


Fighting the Feds and Enviros?
Chairman of the Western Caucus

Today's first guest: NM Congressman Steve Pearce



About Steve Pearce

Steve Pearce was born in 1947 to a large working-class family. He was raised in Hobbs, New Mexico, where his father worked as a roustabout, selling vegetables on the side of the road to make ends meet. With six children to feed, times were often hard in the Pearce household, but his upbringing has made it easy for Steve to relate to the hardworking people of southern New Mexico.

Steve attended New Mexico public schools his entire life, and graduated with a bachelorís degree in economics from New Mexico State University and an MBA from Eastern New Mexico University. During the Vietnam War, Steve served as a combat pilot, flying over 518 hours of combat flight and 77 hours of combat support. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Air Medals, as well as seven other military medals and four exceptional service awards. Steve continued service at Blytheville Air Force Base in the Arkansas, and attained the rank of Captain.

Border Security  I am working to advocate human solutions that reflect the sensitivity of border security issues. This is a complex issue, and all related groups must be engaged in the process of developing a strong policy for border security.
Congressional Issues  Information related to Issues concerning Congress itself.
Defense and National Security  We must maintain a strong military that continues to be second to none, and support the brave men and women who risk their lives for our freedoms.
Economy and Jobs  Jobs are my top priority in Congress. By giving Americans the freedom to work, we can increase our nationís income, reduce our debt, and put America back on the road to financial recovery.
Education  We need strong education policy to prepare our next generation of leaders to face the challenges of tomorrow.
Energy  Energy is a key focus of jobs in southern New Mexico. I am working to encourage a broad approach that creates jobs and lowers the costs to our families, while reducing our dependence on foreign energy.
Financial Services  As a member of the Financial Services Committee, I am working to ensure strong policy to grow our economy and protect jobs on Main Street.
Health Care  I am working to reverse the government takeover of healthcare and support careful, specific legislation that will help you get affordable access to the healthcare you need.
Spending Cuts and Debt  In Congress, I am working to get Washington to stop spending money we donít have on programs we donít need.
Tax Reform  We must hold Washington accountable to responsibly spend your tax dollars.
Veterans  The sacrifices made by Americaís servicemen and servicewomen must never be forgotten. Veteransí issues are a top priority for my work in Congress.
Today's second guest: Tom Kitchar
Mining Districts, historically, were generally the first forms of government in the western states simply because it was usually miners that first settled the west.  With no other law or government for hundreds of miles, it was the miners & prospectors themselves that made their own laws, rules & regulations that were followed within the various districts.  (Mining Districts usually were no larger that the area that could be covered in a day on horseback, or on foot).  Later, in the 1860ís & 1870ís, Congress, when they finally passed a nationwide Mining Law, recognized the Districts as some form of government entity, with the authority to regulate mining within the District as long as the District rules did not interfere with state or federal laws.
The description of Waldo (below) was copied from a brief sent to the U.S. Supreme Court as part of a ďfriend of the courtĒ letter in support of the appeal filed by the New 49ers of the recent (bad) 9th Circuit decision (the decision KS Wild is relying on in their recent suit).
The Waldo Mining District was established on April 1, 1852, in the Oregon Territory and is recognized as the first government in southwest Oregon. The District is an unincorporated association of miners, roughly half of whom hold one or more mining claims within the Siskiyou or other national forests. Historically, and pursuant to the Mining Law of 1872, 30 U.S.C. ß 22, et seq., mining districts were considered government entities, and could make binding rules and regulations within their jurisdictions. Today, one of the principal purposes of the District is to promote the interests of its approximately 125 members, many of whom the United States Forest Service has characterized as finding their livelihood, recreation and , for some, their identity, in suction dredge mining.  
The District is located in Cave Junction, Oregon, just across the border from Happy Camp, California, the site of this controversy. The Ninth Circuit's decision will indefinitely halt the dredging operations of many of the District's members. While they await the completion of the consultation process, members will not be able to work the claims that they own, nor will prospectors be permitted to explore for new claims using suction dredging. These undesirable effects will ensue notwithstanding that suction dredging is the most efficient method to recover gold from underwater streambed sediments.   
About the lawsuit  REF:
Three environmental groups are suing the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest for allegedly failing to protect threatened coho salmon from suction dredgers mining for gold in the Rogue River Basin's coho country.

Filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Medford, the suit seeks to require that NOAA-Fisheries biologists review suction dredging operations here to ensure they don't harm wild coho and their habitat before miners can operate on forest-managed streams.

The suit maintains that these reviews, called consultations, are required under the federal Endangered Species Act before dredgers can operate on federally designated wild coho habitat. That includes reaches of the Rogue and its tributaries accessible to coho, which were listed here as a threatened species in 1997.

Forest Service officials, however, did not undertake these consultations before approving suction dredging operations that could illegally damage wild coho spawning and rearing habitat, the suit states.

The suit comes on the heels of a June 1 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that any Forest Service actions that impact wild coho must go through the consultation process with NOAA-Fisheries.

"If the Forest Service is going to say 'mine here' or 'don't mine here,' they have to follow the requirements of the Endangered Species Act," says George Sexton, conservation director of the Ashland-based Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, one of the plaintiffs in the case.

"There's a step here, consultation, that we're asking them to do," Sexton said.

The suit further seeks to ban suction dredging on Rogue River-Siskiyou forest streams until the consultations are completed.

The suit was filed "so mining on public lands is focused on areas where it does the least harm to endangered salmon," Sexton said.

"I think it's a values clash," he said. "It comes down to what people value public lands for."

Forest spokeswoman Virginia Gibbons declined Tuesday to comment on the lawsuit, which Forest Service officials were reviewing.
Gibbons also declined to discuss any aspect of the forest's dredging program, including how many miners were authorized to dredge each of the past three years and how many miners were denied operation.
Cascadia Wildlands and the Ashland-based Rogue Riverkeeper groups joined the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center as plaintiffs in the suit. The civil case was assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Owen Panner.
ó Mark Freeman
Dredge Mining isn't doing too good in Californ-I-ay

Websites mentioned on today's program:
NOTE: check this website out:




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