Oregon Mining – Standoff Brewing with BLM?

 In Politics

Has an Oregon mining operation started another Bundy Ranch-style confrontation with the Bureau of Land Management? Some believe so, as  the owners of the Sugar Pine Mine near Grants Pass called in the Oath Keepers to protect their land and ensure they get their “due process.”

The owners of the Sugar Pine Mine in the Galice Mining District have mined the area for 160+ years. Activists from around the country have come to the area with the Oath Keepers to defend the land. But the BLM says their claims to the land is outdated, and they will have to “tone down” their operation- and they are also not happy with a “structure” that has been built on the property.

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Josephine County Sheriff steps in

In a press release, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Department stated that on April 6, a man from the “BLM law enforcement  division” and a “Josephine County BLM deputy” served papers on the Sugar Pine owners for noncompliance with specific regulation they were to have implemented.

The Sheriff, Dave Daniel,  stated that it met with the BLM and a representative of the Oath Keepers of Josephine County to ensure the claim owner’s right to due process and to make sure the situation didn’t escalate. The BLM assured the Sheriff that they would take no law enforcement action until the claim owners had completed their due process.

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Oathkeepers arrive to help landowners. Screenshot from KDRV

 

KDRV reported

“A land dispute is creating tension between miners in Josephine County and the Bureau of Land Management. The owners of the mines say they are afraid their rights to due process will not be respected and have now called in reinforcements.

The Oath Keepers of Josephine County are gathering at a piece of property near Merlin. They’re in the process of setting up a staging area, in order to step in if they are needed by the Sugar Pine miners.

“Because we are constitutional group,” said Mary Emerick with Oath Keepers. “We defend the Constitution… And we are here just to make sure that they receive their Fifth Amendment rights which is due process.”

The owners called them in to help protect the property that they have mined for more than 100 years. The miners say documents they have grandfathered-in their surface rights to the property.”

The BLM wrote in response to criticism,

“The BLM has a responsibility to oversee the Sugar Pine mine near Grants Pass, Oregon, because the mine is located on public land. When the BLM inspected the mine earlier this year, the bureau found that the mining claimants were not following standard requirements for developing mines. The claimants had limited public access to the area; begun putting up a house on public land; and had failed to file appropriate mining plans with the BLM. When the claimants failed to take corrective steps, the BLM issued a Decision and Notice of Noncompliance outlining actions the claimant needed to take, as well as information on how to appeal the decision. This is not a law enforcement matter but a routine action.”

What the BLM refers to as “routine action” turned into a nightmare for land owners across the nation over the last year. From stealing and killing cattle in Nevada to literal theft of land under  the guise of “regulations” at the Red River in Texas, the Bureau of Land Management’s “routine” actions have instilled fear and anger in citizens all over the west.

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