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Developer forfeits Chetco River gold mining claims


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By JEFF BARNARD

AP Environmental Writer

GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Authorities said Tuesday a Washington developer whose plans for mining gold on a premier Oregon salmon river inspired a bill in Congress to stop him has forfeited his claims.

Federal records show Dave Rutan and his Chetco River Mining & Explorations LLC of La Center, Wash., failed to pay $1,540 in annual filing fees on the 11 claims on the Chetco River. The claims are now considered closed, said Donna Kauffman, a land law examiner in the minerals section of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Portland. The 30-day appeal period expired, and his only recourse would be to go to court.

Over the past few years, Rutan has crossed swords with environmentalists over his mining and development plans on the Chetco. A bill to expand protections against mining along 20 miles of the river on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in southwestern Oregon has a hearing this week in Congress.

Rutan refused comment when contacted by telephone by The Associated Press.

Conservation groups hailed the development as a victory.

"I think this is an exceptional moment in time to protect this river and its fisheries against mining and the archaic 1872 Mining Act," said Rogue Riverkeeper Lesley Adams "I hope Congress sees the opportunity to protect the Chetco and save taxpayers' dollars at the same time by keeping the river closed to mineral entry without any interruption."

No one else can ever pick up the three claims inside the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, because new claims have been banned by law since 1984. The U.S. Forest Service has prohibited new claims outside the wilderness on the Rogue River-Siskiyou for the next year and a half to give Congress time to act.

Conservation watchdog Barbara Ullian said the forfeiture would save the Forest Service from spending at least $810,000, which the agency had estimated it would cost to do environmental reviews of mining eight of the claims. She added that the owner of some other patented mining claims inside the wilderness sold them to the Forest Service for $3.2 million in 1999.

Rutan bought his claims in 2007. He still owns a 60-acre patented mining claim that is private property along the Little Chetco River within the Kalmiopsis, where he offers gold mining trips to hobby miners.

BLM told Rutan in a Dec. 5, 2011, registered letter that his claim for a small-miner exemption from the fees was denied because he had an interest in 11 claims, one over the limit for exemptions. The letter added that he missed the Sept. 1, 2011, deadline for filing the fees, and had not filed an appeal within the next 30 days.

His wilderness claims ran into a roadblock last year, when the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality said it was unlikely he could qualify for a clean water permit if he planned to use suction dredges to mine gold

.

Conservation groups hailed the development as a victory.

"I think this is an exceptional moment in time to protect this river and its fisheries against mining and the archaic 1872 Mining Act," said Rogue Riverkeeper Lesley Adams "I hope Congress sees the opportunity to protect the Chetco and save taxpayers' dollars at the same time by keeping the river closed to mineral entry without any interruption."

No one else can ever pick up the three claims inside the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, because new claims have been banned by law since 1984. The U.S. Forest Service has prohibited new claims outside the wilderness on the Rogue River-Siskiyou for the next year and a half to give Congress time to act.

Conservation watchdog Barbara Ullian said the forfeiture would save the Forest Service from spending at least $810,000, which the agency had estimated it would cost to do environmental reviews of mining eight of the claims. She added that the owner of some other patented mining claims inside the wilderness sold them to the Forest Service for $3.2 million in 1999.

Rutan bought his claims in 2007. He still owns a 60-acre patented mining claim that is private property along the Little Chetco River within the Kalmiopsis, where he offers gold mining trips to hobby miners.

BLM told Rutan in a Dec. 5, 2011, registered letter that his claim for a small-miner exemption from the fees was denied because he had an interest in 11 claims, one over the limit for exemptions. The letter added that he missed the Sept. 1, 2011, deadline for filing the fees, and had not filed an appeal within the next 30 days.

His wilderness claims ran into a roadblock last year, when the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality said it was unlikely he could qualify for a clean water permit if he planned to use suction dredges to mine gold.

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Friggin liberal Sac Bee newspaper.... taken right out of the story :The U.S. Forest Service has prohibited new claims outside the wilderness on the Rogue River-Siskiyou for the next year and a half to give Congress time to act.

Since when can the FS prohibit new claims. The reporter is so pro left leaning on what a giant victory this is they are just making up crap.

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That's exactly what I thought. Jeff Barnard, "Environmental Writer".

Here's a video of "

Rogue Riverkeeper Lesley Adams"

...

I listened to about 2 minutes of her dribble and then I couldn't take it anymore, there's no way I could listen to the entire 1 hour and 26 minutes!!! :nutty:

I did hear something about signing up to be a "River Keeper", that's what we all should do is sign up and then we could keep all the rivers clean of lead, iron, mercury, trash and that nasty gold!!! :brows:

Skip

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I may have listened to a bit more of her dribble but it is clear she has no certifications in anything. I'd bet that the rest of the so called "riverkeepers" fit the same mold. It is unfortunate that the Sac Bee chose to publish this rubbish.

PT Barnum was 100% correct. There is a sucker born every minute and these "Conservation groups" are pulling in millions of dollars from unsuspecting people.

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Provided by a reliable source. Here is the REAL story behind the Chetco River Claims

Nine claims on the Chetco including three within the wilderness. One of the wilderness claims, Gold 11, was validated and worked since 1983. The other two wilderness claims, Gold 9 and 10, were never validated so they could not be worked until a full blown mineral exam was completed.

USFS refused to accept that Gold 11 was validated and railroaded the owner into doing a “limited” mineral validation before they would review a plan of operation. In the process they also insisted that the three wilderness claims were not recorded properly, in their opinion, so they badgered the BLM to require the owner to re-record and modify the three claims so none of them were over 1 mile in length. The owner reluctantly did this which the BLM reviewed, collected the fees, and properly recorded the “new” claim locations. The BLM never once raised the issue that there may be any problem with ownership even though they stated that they thoroughly vetted the re-recording process.

Soon thereafter the USFS insisted that they needed to sample Gold 11 even though it was properly validated by the previous owner and worked every year since 1983. Reluctantly the new owner agreed to a limited sampling of two dredge holes over the 1 mile length of claim. Not exactly a statistically valid sampling population. They also used an under-powered 4 inch dredge which was a joke. Also, the three USFS geologists who conducted the sampling were not experienced, had piss poor sampling methods, and were basically three stooges trying the dredge. Since the sampling the owner has waited over two years for the USFS to complete the limited validation report. They never did and refused to give the owner a status report, draft of the report, or the gold they found during the sampling. The still have the gold by the way.

Fast forward to 2011, a bill is introduced to withrdraw mineral entry along the entire Chetco River. This effectively required all of the nine claims to go through a formal mineral exam. Remember the USFS drug their feet for over two years on the ‘limited’ mineral exam on Gold 11 so it was readily apparent that there was no chance that the USFS would complete mineral exams on a single Chetco claim let along on all nine. Interestingly, when it became apparent that entire Chetco River was going to be withdrawn the BLM comes back and tells the owner the claims are not legal because the owner has interest in more than 10 claims. This a bogus claim as the owner has nine claims on the Chetco and one claim on Jumpoff Joe Creek. The BLM is hanging there hat on the fact that Rutan owned a claim on Copper Creek many years ago that he sold/gave to a mining club. Rutan signed the quit claim deed but his wife did not so the BLM is saying that the Rutan Family still has interest in the Copper Creek claim which is a very long stretch. The only way to fight this would be to go to court against the BLM. Coupled with the USFS doing nothing but stall and the BLM working with the environmentalists it was very clear that fighting the government was a waste of time and money. Even if the owner won the court case against the BLM for “stealing” the claims the USFS would continue to stall, feed the environmentalists information, and work with the State of Oregon to get rid of the Chetco claims.

Rather than waste more time and money on the Chetco claims the owner decided to ramp up the opportunities at Emlly Camp, which is private property on the Little Chetco River upstream of the nine claims on the main Chetco River. The owner is offering 200 limited ownership opportunities to pre-qualified purchasers who want to experience mining in a self-contained remote mining locale.

The bottom line is: Do not trust any branch of the government especially the USFS and BLM. These agencies are controlled by the environmental crowd and will anything they can, legally or illegally, to get your claim if they really want you to go away. There is very little you can do because the government has unlimited time and money to fight you. They control the funding to conduct mineral exams and will simply re-route the money to other projects that are of “higher” importance to the government. If you think you own a gold claim, think again. You are only renting the opportunity to mine and at any point the government can shut you down without cause. The only way to enjoy gold mining is to buy private property, put up locked gates, post the perimeter and refuse to let any government official on the property.

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Thank you very much for posting the facts Haderly. The reason I posted the original article was because it was written by an "Environmental Writer" who obviously put a ton of environmental spin into it. This is what we are up against and in my opinion common people with common sense will prevail in America. We just need to pay more attention and stand up to those who have been duped and led astray.

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