The Battle with the EPA in Idaho Has Begun


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Feb 21, 2013
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Primary Interest:
I wrote a letter to congressman Simpson today. I Will be writing the Governor next. See the following:

Dear Rep. Simpson,

I am writing you today to express my concern with the EPA overstepping our Great States sovereignty and imposing regulations upon recreational miners that have been operating within the guidelines imposed by our Great State for longer than I have been alive. The EPA has seen fit to impose restrictions on recreational dredgers under the guise of “discharge regulations”. First they are requiring us to submit a NOI (Notice Of Intent) for dredging, then they are declining those notices. When applying for Idaho water rights to do highbanking, booming, sluicing, and dredging the IDWR has always been happy to issue a statewide letter permit to operate wherever we would like as long as the waterway is open for the time period that we are planning on prospecting in and that we operate under the size and engine restrictions that keep us within the “recreational” status. As a matter of fact the letter up until this year carried the signature of our Governor C. L. Otter.

The EPA has now stepped in and threatened all of us with a $60,000 dollar fine if we operate as we have always done. I received a certified letter from them with this threat. I sent them a NOI this year and told them that they were overstepping and that I would operate within state guidelines. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to dredge this year, However If I see an opportunity arise I would like to be able to do so without worrying about whether or not I have told the EPA exactly where I will be, exactly when, and have it submitted by the April Deadline.

I thought we were a free people here Rep. Simpson. Free to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness? I am and have been an Idaho Licensed Guide for Wind River Outfitters (My father is Mike Branson Owner). I have always known Idaho to be a state in which we are free to move about in and perform recreational activities in as long as we were not damaging the environment and we were leaving in it a condition that could be enjoyed by future generations. As a recreational miner I personally have recovered and turned in over two ounces of poisonous Mercury that no longer has a chance of making it into our stream channels and contaminating our environment.

I did a search for “DREDGE” on Craigslist for our area here in the Treasure valley and I was disturbed to see over 15 dredges for sale throughout the area. There are hardly ever more than one or two per year for sale on there. This is all equipment that was purchased locally for the most part that helped our local economy, and I know from experience that every recreational miner out there spends at least $2 for every $1 recovered in gold. Now you have constituents that will not be out in the great outdoors nor will they be pumping money back into the economy so that they can enjoy their past times. If you do not act soon the regulations that the EPA passes down will become as overbearing as California, Washington State, and Oregon. I would like to know your thoughts on our current dilemma and I would like to know if we (The Thousands of Recreational Miners) have your support in continuing to prospect for gold in a manner that we all know to be not damaging to the Environment and wildlife in our great state. I will be sharing a copy of this letter and your response with the Nampa Chapter of The GPAA and the Idaho Gold Prospectors Association as we are all already organized and we eagerly await your response.


My Name went here

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Bronze Member
Nov 8, 2010
Camptonville, CA
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Primary Interest:
EPA N IRS need to go in the way of the dodo bird

Armendariz was appointed to the EPA post by President Barack Obama in 2010, but he resigned after the release of a video showing him proclaiming EPA's "general philosophy" is to "crucify" and "make examples" of oil and gas companies so that others are "really easy to manage."
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, facetiously congratulated Armendariz on his new job.
"I would like to congratulate Dr. Armendariz for his new job as a key player in the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. At least at the Sierra Club he won't get into so much trouble for telling the truth that their true agenda is to kill oil, gas, and coal,” Inhofe said in a press statement.
Disgraced Ex-EPA Official Joins Sierra Club | NCPA

Just ahead of President Barack Obama’s big jobs speech, the American Forest & Paper Association says a pending environmental rule could cost 20,500 jobs or 18% of the industry’s workforce.
In a study to be released Wednesday, the group is taking aim at an Environmental Protection Agency rule to cut pollution from factory boilers, saying the regulation will cause 36 U.S. paper and pulp mills to close. The study comes on the heels of a decision by Mr. Obama to jettison another EPA air quality rule related to ozone that industry complained would kill millions of jobs.
Another EPA Rule Comes Under Attack - Washington Wire - WSJ


Bronze Member
Mar 4, 2012
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I called Sen Crapo's office many months ago about this and was promised a response within 48 hrs. I'm still waiting. I hope you have better luck than I did. Well written letter .

Armchair prospector

Sr. Member
Jul 31, 2011
You'll have to do your fun underground as when dealing with the government you won't get spit. They have seized power and are using it to their benefit. We miners as a group are not fighting this but posting our displeasure how we are treated. Get used to it. At some point we will wake up and fight this on constitutional terms. Has this free country run its course? 230 years. We have a lot on the government dole and that may be our demise. We could win this fight if we were as many as fishermen. You say 15 dredges are for sale on Craigslist? That is a shame. Have you called these people to ask why they are selling? When we lose those, we lose the power to fight. It is a crying shame.

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