Here is a final summary by Pete Conaty giving us
confirmation that we have
won another very important battle. In all of this, we
must all realize how lucky we are to have Conaty &
Associates on our team. I am certain that if we did not
have such capable lobbyists working for our side, we
would not be suction dredging for gold next season in
California. This is the same team that helped us
1032 last year.
As many of you know, this was just one more attempted
cowardly sneak attack by our adversaries (there have
been several during the past few years). Imagine trying
to hide language to entirely eliminate suction dredging
in California inside of the Stateís annual budget bill!
It is a very good thing
our lobbyists are paying such close attention to the
things happening in Sacramento! As we stepped up our
lobbying pressure, our adversaries then modified the
language to eliminate or reduce some of our most
important suction dredge seasons, calling this a
"compromise" (from their sneak attack to eliminate
suction dredging altogether). Then, as we stepped up our
lobbying efforts even further, our Republican friends in
the California legislature were able to get the language
Please don't get the idea that any of this was easy.
It was a combination of a lot
of hard work (and money) carefully managed by our very
skilled lobby team. I cannot detail all the things which
happen behind the scenes. Because of the nature of
politics, some things must remain secret. I'm sorry
As we move forward, it is important for all of us to
know who are friends are Ė and who are not our friends.
You guys should know that nearly every Republican stood
with us, and nearly every Democrat within the California
legislature would have voted to put small-scale miners
out of business.
Just as importantly, while we cannot find it listed
in the budget as a line item, the Department of Fish &
Game (DFG) is acknowledging that the $1 million was
approved to pay for an update of the California
Environmental Impact Report (EIR) which supports our
suction dredge regulations. With the EIR update finally
beginning, I suspect there is a reasonable chance that
the Court will reject any motions by our adversaries to
intervene -- and therefore allow the administrative
process to resolve any real
issues that might be related to suction dredging. This
is a good thing!
I want to personally thank everyone who contributed
to our efforts by sending in your messages as we
I also want to thank all of you who sent in financial
contributions to help us pay the costs. For the first
time ever, we have actually ended up with enough money
in our fund to pay all the costs at the time we have won
a battle (see report below). Always before, I have had
to request help from you for months after we have won a
battle! Raising the money to pay our experts is one of
the most stressful parts I have to play. So I want to
thank all you guys (and gals) for all your wonderful
None of this is to say the war is over. We will now
be fighting every step of the way through the
administrative process (through an update of the EIR
which supports our suction dredge regulations). Still,
since the whole administrative process is designed by
law to resolve real problems by imposing the
least-restrictive regulations, based upon the best
available science, I predict that we will come out
alright in the end. But I am
certain that we will have to hold a
firm line every step of the
way. So please stay with us!
Most of the legal challenges to our activity will
come to an end once the updated EIR is in place. So
there actually is a light at
the end of our particular tunnel.
Meanwhile, since the anti-dredging language was
defeated in the California legislature, our adversaries
(Karuk Tribe and their far-left friends) have notified
the Court that they intend to file a motion to place the
State of California in Contempt, and ask the Court to
impose an injunction upon further issuance of suction
dredge permits in California until the EIR process has
been completed. Our attorneys are already working with
specialists to build a defense against any such motion.
From our perspective, a contested hearing with experts
to weigh evidence concerning the impacts of suction
dredging would be a direct effort to circumvent the full
administrative process which has been created to settle
these very matters.
It is interesting how our adversaries repeatedly
attempt to circumvent the California Environmental
Quality Act (CEQA) by using the very war cry that the
State is not following CEQA! In other words, the Karuks
and their liberal supporters really only want to use the
Stateís laws if the outcome supports their own agenda.
One thing in all of this has become very clear: While
the environmentalists always
position themselves on the moral high ground (saving the
world from the evils of free enterprise), they are
continuously willing to pursue unethical and immoral
methods to meet their objectives.
I personally have been on the front line of this war
(against the basic freedoms we all hold dear) for the
past 5 or 6 years. Since we will be voting again in just
a few weeks, I would like to share my perspective with
you: Whether by design or accident (I personally donít
know), we are up against a very
serious and powerful anti-American movement inside of
the U.S. When I say this, I am talking about the
concepts of property ownership and liberty. Liberty is a
big word that basically means personal freedom. With a
broad stroke, I believe it would be accurate to say that
nearly all of the left-leaning organizations (nearly all
of the Democratic Party candidates) and the
environmentalist organizations stand for a substantially
increased socialist agenda and less free enterprise for
America. Many Republicans are also pushing a socialist
agenda upon America, just at a slower pace.
One would think, with the clear
decline of our American institutions, the desertion of
our American manufacturing and industrial base, and the
loss of 9 trillion dollars from our economic base during
just the past year, that there would be more talk by our
leaders about the need to get Americaís economic engines
fired back up again. Rather, we are hearing more of the
same old stuff about the need to increase social
benefits for everyone and decrease productive activity
to further protect the environment from the evil
Isnít it time to wake up?
I suppose we will start hearing the right kind of
rhetoric from our politicians when we begin demanding it
of them. So we do have a part to play in this. Iím
trying to do my part right here.
Meanwhile, for whatever its worth, from my own
perspective on the front line of the war, regardless of
what the politicians say or what kind of spin the
commentators put on it, as bad as they are, for the most
part, the Republicans at least come in on our side. The
Democratic Party wants to eliminate the mining law and
any remaining true enterprise opportunities that exist
on the public lands of America. Iím talking about your
remaining freedoms here.
Iím sorry if this opinion offends anyone. Still, this
is an election year, and I would be remiss to not share
my own perspective which has come directly from facing
off with the forces who want to bury America even
Back to our immediate situation, because a motion by
our adversaries for an injunction would very likely
require an extensive evidentiary proceeding that will
require proof of measurable harm to Coho salmon as a
result of existing suction dredge regulations (they have
yet to present any evidence
of this), our adversaries have devoted the last two
years attempting to eliminate suction dredging through
the California legislature. Having repeatedly failed
there, they should also plan on our meeting them in
Court if they motion for an injunction. Short of any
real proof of harm (unlikely), we will be arguing that
our regulations must be
addressed through the legal process which has been
created specifically for that. Now that the money has
been set aside to accomplish this, our argument seems
like a reasonable one.
We should not relax ourselves yet, because we still
have a ways to go. But we should
all allow ourselves a pause and give ourselves another
well-deserved pat on the back. I want to personally
thank you a lot for being
there. You guys make it a personal honor for me to play
my own small part in all of this. Without you, it
certainly would not be a
Those Who Are Helping Us!
You guys will be interested to know that we brought
in $18,527.33 in legal and political contributions since
the first of June when we began the effort to overcome
this most recent harmful legislative language. During
the same time period, we have expended $15,450.36, with
around $2,000 remaining due at the end of this month. In
all, we received 225 contributions, of which 60 amounted
to $100 or more.
It is important that I acknowledge the help which
other prospecting organizations provided in generating
letters and messages to support our lobbyists. The
Shasta Miners (Redding, California) made a strong
effort. Public Lands for the People (PLP) made a strong,
national push for letters and messages to the California
Governor. I understand the Mother lode Miners (Auburn,
California) pushed messages towards the governor. I am
sure other organizations also provided this kind of
support. It is nearly impossible to know who they are;
because that kind of help went directly to the governor.
We would not have won
without all that help.
We also could not have
possibly have won if it were not for the financial
contributions that you guys sent in. The main reason we
have been winning our battles during the past 5 years is
that we have been hiring the best
lobbyists and attorneys (available anywhere) to help
present our position in the way that is necessary for us
to compete on the modern battlefield. As these
highly-qualified specialists must be paid, a big part of
the challenge these days has to do with fundraising.
This is a reality which cannot
Being that fundraising is our lifeblood (so we can
hire specialists), and we would have long since ceased
to exist without the help of our supporters, I would
like to present a special acknowledgement to those
specific companies which have made financial
contributions during this past year or so. We will
certainly need to continue the good fight as time moves
forward. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to support
the companies who stand with us when we need them. Here
Pro Line Dredges, American Placer Supply, Armadillo
Mining Supplies (Grants Pass, Oregon), Pioneer Mining
(Auburn, California), Miners Cache (Redding, California)
Pro-Mack Mining Supplies (Happy Camp), Jobe Wholesale
(with Tesoro Electronics), Louie Welding (Salem Oregon),
Whites Electronics, Minelab Electronics, Fisher
Electronics and Garrett Electronics.
The following individuals have also contributed
valuable prizes to our drawings: Don Espey, John & Madel
Koczan, Dave Stoner and Richard Jensen. I especially
want to thank Roger Larson who has donated ounces and
ounces of his own beautiful gold.
In respect for personal privacy, I will not name the
individual financial donors who made substantial
contributions. Iím sorry about this, because there are
several individuals who have helped
a lot along the way. They have asked to remain
anonymous, so we will respect their wishes.
I apologize if I have overlooked anyone here. Please
just quietly remind me if I have, and I will add that
company or organization to the list. Otherwise, if you
do not see them listed here, then you can just
pretty-much assume that they have rejected our requests
when asked for help with the costs of retaining
specialists to defend our industry.
To avoid negative internal politics within the
industry, I am making a strong
request that we/you do not openly discuss or complain
about those commercial enterprises within the industry
that refuse to help us win these battles, even when they
stand to lose everything if we lose. Making them mad is
less likely to engender their support as we move
In the meanwhile, I encourage you to give as much of
your support as possible to those organizations and
commercial enterprises listed above who are actively
helping to preserve our industry.
On that note, by the way; since nearly all of the
help we receive from commercial enterprises within the
industry are in the form of prizes for our drawings,
nearly all of the financial
assistance we receive has come from you guys (and gals);
our most valued friends and supporters.
Thank you very much!
I also want to acknowledge our much-treasured, Jim
Yerby. Jim is the person who has worked tirelessly to
turn up prizes for our fundraisers, and who has worked
so hard to keep it all alive on our
Forum (on the Internet).
Our office in Happy Camp has resumed winter hours
beginning on 1 October: We will be open between 8:00
a.m. and 12 noon. Closed for lunch 12 noon to 1:00 p.m.
Open 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. We
will be closed on the weekends until May of next year.
Our Saturday evening potlucks will resume in the
spring of 2009.