3 Jan 2010, 12:33pm
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Mining association submits coordination plan to county

By SCOTT JORGENSEN, Illinois Valley News, December 30, 2009 [here]

A plan for federal and state government agencies to coordinate with Josephine County has been formulated by members of the Southwest Oregon Mining Association (SOMA).

The Josephine County Board of Commissioners voted 3-0 on Nov. 24 to pass a resolution calling for a coordination plan.

That came after Gov. Kulongoski, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) sent letters to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in support of a proposed mining withdrawal for the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area.

President Clinton proposed the withdrawal in the waning days of his administration, but President Bush never acted on it. However, a series of high-profile disputes involving mining claims in Illinois Valley has prompted questions regarding the jurisdictions of agencies to regulate those activities.

The coordination proposal states that “mining is one of the historical uses of public land and agency management of such use is statutorily compatible within the multiple use principles, where applicable.”

Guiding principles of the document state that “all lands within the county not lawfully removed from mineral entry will remain available for such lawful or beneficial use not limited to exploration, development, occupation and purchase. Any and all existing withdrawn areas shall be reevaluated by the agency for compliance with this plan and brought into compliance without delay.”

Objectives listed in the coordination proposal include an insistence that federal agencies “recognize the private property rights and non-discretionary nature of locatable mining as being distinct from United States, U.S. owned mineral operations of leasable or saleable contract of agency discretion.” … [more]

Note: for more on coordination plans, see [here, here].

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