Dredging Up Problems
Some years ago I was coming through the patrol captain’s office when I observed one of my co-workers coming through at the same time. This co-worker was stopping at the counter to converse with another person. One of the people standing there looked at him and stated, “One of those trouble makers”. He was referring to the fact that the personnel in the communications center had openly opposed the elimination of our jobs and turn them over to civilians. Because we had elected to stand up for ourselves we were trouble makers.

When I read in the local Tribune that miners were causing problems because they were standing up against the US Forest Service, the EPA and the BLM I became suspicious and decided to check into the situation further. The Tribune story did not identify who had contacted them on behalf of the miners plus the tribune said they had difficulty reaching anyone at the miners association. The observer called the secretary of the miners’ association, a Stacy Serato, and got right through. Mrs. Serato referred me to a Shannon Poe, the president of the American Mining Rights Association.

Mr. Poe was very forthright in his interview. He stated that in 2014 the EPA decided to change the rules governing dredge mining. Under the new rules a plan of operation had to be submitted for approval. At the public comment period of the rules change the public was overwhelming in their opposition to the new rules. In spite of this opposition, the new rules were passed by a Cheryl Probert. Mrs. Probert is the supervisor for the local EPA.

The American Mining Rights Association feels that the EPA and the BLM have overstepped their authority. Mr. Poe feels the actions taken by the EPA violates Chapter 2817 which defines the authority of the EPA. He feels that Mrs. Probert has simply used other agencies to enforce EPA standards. The Idaho Department of Water Resources and is threatening to cite a couple of miners. Mrs. Probert states that agents have not cited the miners because it is unsafe. Mr. Poe responds that the US Forest Service Ranger for the area, a Terry Neynus, has a good working relationship with the miners. Their wives even exchange baked goods. This Terry Neynus has even testified on behalf of the miners claiming the harm to the environment is De minimis non curat lex, which means it is so trifle that the law is not concerned.

Mr. Poe is more to the point. He says, “come cite me so we can put the question before a judge”. No one seems to want to take him up on his offer

Mr. Poe went on to say that Mrs. Probert sits on applications instead of reviewing them in a timely manner. She has went so far as hanging up on a miner who called to find out why his application was taking three years to process.

Time will tell! David Estes – Editor

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