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Butte Creek

Siskiyou Miner WINS a Round

Siskiyou Miner WINS a Round [only a round – the WAR Wages on]
It’s not just State and Federal Agencies riding roughshod over property rights.

Recent happenings in the Butte Creek Minerals/Clif McMillan [BCM/MCM] verses Siskiyou Co. five-year litigation through the State Appellate Court has resulted in two significant decisions of potential empowerment of property rights that won’t be widely recognized or much appreciated unless the word gets spread.

BCM/MCM’s mining rights were “granfathered” in active mining before permitting was required (allowed prior use) and further licensed by provisions of a Williamson Act Contract that permitted “natural resource development”. A self-serving complaint of a new neighbor brought out County regulators with a vengeance whose actions denied both these property entitlements.

VESTED RIGHTS – the Fulcrum of Mining Law
BCM/MCM sought a vesting determination as a defense to the Counties Compliance Orders that included demands to which vested properties are exempt. The County, at every level, had deaf ears, the Siskiyou Superior Court declined to enforce the State Vesting Statute thus forcing McMillan to appeal. The Appellate Court recently reversed, struck down and remanded to the County to conduct a vesting determination, to which all mines that existed prior to 1976 and the passage of the Surface Mining Act (SMARA – passed by 1975 Legislature & signed by Gov. Ronald Reagan) are entitled as matter of statutory law, (PRC § 2776) because“//vested rights determination functions in the SMARA scheme ----- it sets the tone for all that follows.‖ [Citation]Calvert, supra, 145 Cal.App.4th)
§ 2776 also clearly states the three required criteria to establish a vested right and thus effectively limits what may be considered in a vesting decision. It removes, at least in CA., the issue of vesting of mines from the gray areas of common law and estoppel that plague vested rights other venues. The decision further applies settled law in California regarding the expansion of mining operations under the Doctrine of Diminishing Assets. (Hanson Bros v. Nevada Co.)

The Appellate Court shortchanged other miners in similar situations by refusing to publish, which means, what they ruled and the basis of decision cannot be cited as legal precedent in other litigation thereby negating benefit to others from McMillan’s effort and significant expense.
Prominent mining oriented entities requested publication: California Construction and Industrial Materials Association; Granite Construction; Vulcan Materials Company; Graniterock; Lehigh Hanson, Inc.; Knife River Construction; Pacific Legal Foundation; Western Aggregates LLC; along with appellants.

The remand places this case back in the venue of the Siskiyou Superior Court and because the California Supreme Court has not (at this writing) ruled on the publication requests; it is possible, with enough input from the “little guys” of mining, that the Superior Court would acknowledge “a significant benefit, …………, has been conferred on the general public or a large class of persons.” and be influenced to support publication.

To that end, your support in convincing the Superior Court that there is benefit to a large group of miners – State wide, from simply knowing that they have the right to a vesting determination even as buyer/owners long after the vesting occurred.

WILLIAMSON ACT CONTRACTS PASS W/ TITLE was a valuable ruling from the Superior Court to the benefit of a larger class of owners of property holding “Ag. Preserve” contracts. This premise deserves support. The Superior Ct. ruled (and was not contested by the 3rd App. Ct.) that even though all or parts of a contracted property have changed ownership, either horizontally or laterally, all successors in interest are parties bound by original contract provisions. In Siskiyou Counties case, and probably other counties, this is huge for mining as those early contracts designated “natural resource development” (aka MINING) as compatible utilization Not Requiring a PERMIT. But watch OUT!! The State, in it’s deficit crisis, has terminated ALL support to counties that offsets Ag. Preserve tax loss and local government reaction, in Siskiyou at least, has been an attempt to convince holders of those early contracts to voluntarily give them up to replacement agreements that eliminate nearly all compatible uses except intensive agriculture.

If you see value in these Court findings, before March 1st, address your statement in support of some accruing benefit to:
The Hon. Karen Dixon, Siskiyou County Superior Court, 311 4th St., Yreka, CA 96097 and cite the case McMillan v. County of Siskiyou. It would be helpful and empowering at March 5th Court arguments if you would copy BCM/McM your submission, or at least let BCM know you entered comment indicating your perception of benefit to: so they’re aware of the level of support that has been achieved by Property Rights Advocacy Organizations informing their members of these developments. [Kirk MacKinze, the founding principal of Defend Rural America, refused to circulate this information on the premise that it was not of interest or importance to most of his participants and over the head of the few that might be helped. If you have gotten this far, you have proven him wrong – let him know that us “hicks & hayseeds” might not have his academic credentials but we do know the obligation to stay informed so as to STAY Ahead.

In furtherance of: “Liberty & Justice for ALL” Butte Creek THANKS You!!

Thanks for the heads up on this...will spread the word.
Butte Creek

Thanks Hefty! Surprised} Need all the heavy hitters I can interest. bcm

Will spread word and do what we can... Forum Index -> Mining Law Tibits
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