(Riverton, Wyoming) – The Wyoming Prospectors Association held its monthly meeting Saturday at the Wind River Heritage Center, with members attending from Riverton, Pavillion, Kinnear, Lander, Hudson, Atlantic City and Rock Springs.
WPA Treasurer and Member Jacque Stoldt reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reviewing the definition of United States waters. Stoldt said these changes will not affect them; however, they are keeping tabs on the Supreme Court judicial review of Sackett v. EPA which challenges the definition.
“The Sacketts are fighting for the right to build on their land in Idaho without having to get expensive federal permits,” Stoldt said. “It’s private land, they want to do things on their own ponds, and right now the EPA is saying they can’t. Like I said, it’s not about us so much because we’re all on state land as far as claims and things go, but you never know what it’s going to do to them.
BLM offices return to Washington DC
Stoldt also reported that the new director of the Office of Land Management will move all offices to Washington, D.C.
“The previous manager moved them all west,” Stoldt said. “Two reasons for this were to bring people closer to where the real work is done, and also because the cost of living was so much lower here.
On June 22, 2021, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) called on President Biden to remove BLM candidate Tracy Stone-Manning over her links to ecoterrorism. Stoldt said it was decided that all but a few BLMs would be returned to Washington, DC.
“For our immediate consequences, not so much; for the consequences on the road, it’s going to be big,” Stoldt said. “I think we’re really going to see a lot of battles unfold because people won’t be around to see what’s going on, and we’re going to lose that connection with them again.
Closure of Minnesota mines
It was noted the cancellation of Minnesota mining leases under the Biden administration.
“In his 2020 run, he (Biden) said he wouldn’t shut this down because it’s for nickel, copper and other rare minerals that our country is already short of,” Stoldt said. “They decide to shut it down again, stating that ‘the leases were improperly renewed in violation of applicable laws and regulations’. They really reverse a lot of things that have happened over the past few years.”
Streams and greater sage grouse
WPA secretary and member Joyce Raymond said she was able to speak to a warden at Wyoming Game & Fish, who said the department is no longer doing anything with waterway area closures. “It’s strictly BLM,” Raymond said, saying the agency used sage grouse as a reason to shut them down.
Chairman Commissioner Travis Becker was invited to the WPA meeting but was unable to attend. Stoldt reported that Becker said there were no concerns about anything being closed, and that “Sage Grouse and BLM were having discussions about the different waterway rights and the fence. waterways to keep the animals out, but right now they’ve backed on a lot of that,” Stoldt said, adding that Becker had advised the WPA to create a mining district to bolster their claims.
The WPA is made up of statewide members who mine for gold and other valuable minerals in Wyoming. For more information visit: www.wpagold.com