Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Midas Gold is Toxic for Idaho

Midas Gold promises big and delivers small (or not at all).

Gate installed, operated and maintained by Midas Gold, on Stibnite Road. 

Midas Gold claims to "listen and work well with local communities." However,  Midas Gold's first order of business was to install closed iron gates on a public road.... ... more than 10 miles away from their mining claims. Locking the public out of public lands. 

The same road that Valley County taxpayers (myself included) just finished paying $350,000 to restore and upgrade.....primarily to benefit Midas Gold at taxpayer expense. 

Normally,  a private for profit corporation installing gates on public lands would be met with heavy resistance (think: Wilkes brothers).

However,  Valley County,  which has long been fraught with corruption,  including high level officials going to prison for taking grant money: is all too happy to take Midas' money. Especially since Valley County Commissioner Chairman Gordon Cruickshank agreed to become a Midas Gold Stibnite Foundation board member,  overseeing where slush fund grant money goes and who gets it.

Letter from Midas Gold to Valley County Commissioner Chairman Gordon Cruickshank,  thanking him for becoming a board member.  Think: Conflict of interest. Quid Pro Quo .


I first saw Stibnite Mine when my dad went to work there in 1983. I fished all up and down the East Fork and Meadow Creek,  which run through Stibnite. 
Later, I went to work at Stibnite Mine. Including taking water quality samples and submitting them to the laboratory for testing,  planting trees, vegetation,  building sediment containment structures. 

After work,  stopping at the Glory Hole to fish was my favorite pastime. 
Although the area is very high in arsenic and mercury: time has capped most of the toxic sludge, old barrels of unknown chemicals left by decades of mining.  
Time and natural processes have brought the East Fork back to EPA levels safe enough for drinking water quality. 

Midas Gold plans to drive a new tunnel through volcanic sediments high in arsenic and, sulfides and mercury (think acid mine drainage). Their plan is to drain the Glory Hole,  expand it into an even bigger open pit mine (with more toxic sulfides, arsenic and mercury). Then put the river back into the original channel when they are done. 

Midas Gold doesn't have that kind of money. It was given over 100 million dollars by other mining companies in just the past three years. But according to Midas' investment information posted publicly: they have less than 12 million dollars cash on hand. And nothing to show for the $78 million they blew through in such a short timeframe. 

1) Midas Gold is more interested in destroying public access to public lands, than they are in mining.
2) Midas Gold plans to create massive disturbances in pristine fish habitat that has been at rest for several decades. 
3) Midas Gold is fiscally irresponsible and will most likely leave taxpayers holding the bag for cleaning up their mess.

Scott Amos

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Miner Dave vs USFS

Miner Dave is once again being forced off his claims and into possible homelessness.

Miner Dave

170 Years ago Oregon was carved out of the wilderness by rugged individuals who were willing to work hard for little to no pay in search of gold, fame and fortune. 

Forgetting the very pioneering spirit that built the great state: the Forest Service and local county have criminalized the very type of person who built it. 

Preferring those living on food stamps than those who would be self-sufficient: the deep state has declared war on a lone prospector: David Everist, or simply: "Miner Dave".

 Kerby Jackson of the Galice Mining District sent the following letter to assist Miner Dave in retaining the right to live and work on his mining claim.

To the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors, I would like to offer you a bit of insight into the e-mails that you have been receiving from David Everist, which I am sure, by time you receive this, will probably number into the many dozens. For your own information, Dave lives at Irongate Lake Estates on some bare land which he is the exclusive owner of. Prior to obtaining this property with what was basically his life savings, he lived on a mining claim here in Josephine County where he was involved in several high profile legal disputes with the United States Forest Service for occupying his claim without their permission. On one of these occasions, the dispute reached such a point that he was arrested by USFS and served 30 days in the Jackson County jail. According to documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, the federal government spent in excess of eleven million dollars prosecuting him over his mining claim occupancy cases. He is well known in the mining community due to having stood his ground against the USFS over his mining rights and he was actually the first miner in this country to ever to be incarcerated just for living on his mining claim. Due to his notoriety, he has been interviewed on the subject by local, regional and national media, as well as been a guest on talk radio about mining and property rights issues. He is commonly known by people interested in these subjects all around the country simply as "Miner Dave". A few years ago, Dave was in the midst of possibly entering another dispute with USFS, which he was willing to do, but at the prompting of relatives, chose instead to sell and leave his claim instead of risking serving another jail sentence over it. It also took a lot of arm twisting on my part to get USFS off his back and to give him time to move off the claim and sell it with the promise that they wouldn't pursue him a third time. Dave was tired of them and they were tired of dealing with him as well, so it worked out. Dave had a little money from a pension from his early years working for Pacific Power and used it to buy two lots at Irongate, as well as for a used RV and support infrastructure (solar power, generator, etc) for the RV. For the most part, his last few years in Siskiyou County have been peaceful ones that have dramatically improved his living situation and his lifestyle. When he lived on his mining claim, following his run in with USFS, he lived in very rough conditions with no power, no heat, etc. in a very remote area, and often didn't even have food. Often, he was reliant on the charity of others for his basic survival. His health suffered to such an extent that he developed kidney problems serious enough to have spent some time in the care of the hospital and for awhile, some people who he was close to wondered if he would atually survive the ordeal. Through the first year at Irongate he was also often very reliant on the help of others for food, water and other basics (and USFS of all people had to rescue him during the Klamathon Fire evacuations) , but over the last year his situation has improved considerably. After almost a year's effort, some of Dave's medical conditions have now been semi-diagnosed and he is now receiving disability benefits from Social Security, was able to purchase a vehicle and auto insurance again, keep up on his property taxes and begin to lead some sort of semblence of a normal lifestyle again with enough security to start to look forward to the future again. This is something he has not been able to do in nearly 20 years due to his medical conditions which include Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, ADHD and what is believed by many to be a form of Aspberger's Syndrome, which is a high functioning variety of autism. He's happy in Siskiyou County and appreciates his privacy since being around too many people causes him much stress which then does much to aggravate his conditions. Eventually, he hopes to build a house on his property and plant an orchard, as well as to eventually do some mining again. Unfortunately, recently, Dave received a warning notice from one of your Code Enforcement Officers that he is to vacate his property due to the fact that he is living in an RV without proper sanitation and relies on bottled water for his needs. From what Dave was told, he at minimum, needs a porta-potty on his property to live there. Though Dave is very willing to comply with this reasonable request and can now afford to do this to improve his living situation, there is however, an impediment stopping him from accomplishing this. This is the fact that the companies providing such portable toilet services will not deliver and maintain such a service without a physical street address. Further to the above, it appears that Dave cannot get a physical street address for his property without first obtaining a building permit through your Building Department. Though Dave would like to eventually build a small house, in addition to being unable to currently afford to build a house or to hire a licensed engineer to draft an acceptable plan for the house he can't afford to build, his medical conditions are such that he is not in a position to deal with the administrative impediments that your county department is putting in his way to obtain a street address. To further worsen this situation, Dave literally has nowhere to go and will become a transient and a burden on society if your county forces him off of his property by physical or judicial enforcement action. It was apparently suggested to him by your CSO that he could go live on Public Land and camp on his own property periodically. In the first place, Dave's view (and I agree and know many attorneys who would agree) that Siskiyou County is not a land management agency over the private property inside the county's boundaries, but may only engage in reasonable regulation pertaining to its occupancy. With that in mind, I do not forsee Dave abandoning his property at an administrative say-so of one employee, especially since he had multiple clashes with USFS over similar issues where considerably lesser property rights were involved. To go further, the suggestion of your CSO that he go "live on Public Lands" is not only encouraging someone to do something unlawful to comply with his own order, but in fact, due to his past conflicts with USFS, Dave is actually under a judicial order by the Federal Court in Medford to not engage in occupation of Public Lands (even temporarily) without an approved Mining Plan of Operation from USFS or BLM. Needless to say, if your county CSO proceeds upon the road that he is currently traveling, the end result is that a disabled man with a serious health condition that has struggled to improve a bad lot in life and made much headway in the last year or so, is going to be made a transient just because he cannot obtain a physical street address for a piece of poperty that he owns outright and has always paid taxes upon. Over these past weeks, Dave has been in contact with your Building Department to try to solve this issue, but I believe that due to his condition, your staff there are unable to understand his requests for assistance. With that in mind, I would like to humbly request the inteverntion of your County Board to try to assist in this matter in such a way that Dave can obtain a physical street address for his property so that he may comply with your county's sanitation requirements and have a portable chemical toilet delivered to his property and maintained by its provider. I am certain that somewhere inside your county administration there is some mechanism that can help to solve this issue. I should also add that if some special permitting process is needed, even though Dave receives only very meager benefits from Social Security Disability each month, it may be possible for me to assist him financially or to help him obtain financial assistance from others in the mining community. As well, as I have my own personal plans to relocate from Josephine County to the vicinity of Montague in the short term future to better pursue my mining and agricultural interests, some of which are already established there to a small degree, I am going to be in a much better position to insure that Dave's living conditions on his property can be greatly improved over the next few years. With Regards, Kerby Jackson Recorder - Galice Mining District 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Roads Don't Cause Sediment-- Forest Fires Do

The Forest Service is proposing obliterating 103 miles of public roads on the Krassel Ranger District "to prevent sediment".

Krassel Ranger District Ranger Anthony Botello once told me that the Forest Service was closing Sugar Creek Road to stop "12 tons of sediment, annually " from entering the Salmon River. I then asked him why the Forest Service wasn't doing anything about the MILLIONS of tons of sediment entering the Salmon River from the landscape erasing megafire known as the "Cascade Complex Fire ". His response? Road sediment is "bad" and harms fish. Forest fire sediment "adds needed silt to bury eggs, nutrients, shade and snags that is beneficial for fish ". Proof that in the world of make-believe at the Forest Service: you can have your cake and eat it too.

Forest Service sign on South Fork claims that the 395,000 Cascade Complex Fire and the BILLIONS of tons of sediment that goes with it is "good" for fish.

Here is my response:

Thank you in advance for considering my comments. 

I have lived in the travel area since 1983.  
I find it very troubling that the Forest Service's answer to everything is to destroy public access,  close roads, in the name of "helping the environment".

When I was young,  it was very hard to find dead trees on the Payette National Forest. We would often have to travel 30 miles or more from the town of Yellow Pine to find firewood for heating our home. 

Bark beetle infested trees were quickly removed as they made the best firewood. 

Over 70,000 elk lived in Idaho. Compared to the 15,000 or fewer estimated to live in our great state today. 

We often saw moose 6-8 at a time in Big Creek or trailing along the South Fork somewhere. 

Plus the ever present logging truck or logging helicopter on Lick Creek or Profile Summit. 

More than 700 people lived and worked in Yellow Pine and the surrounding areas. High paying jobs could be found everywhere.....you could literally quit one company,  walk across the street and be working again the next day. 

Nowadays,  those jobs are gone. Logging has stopped. Mining and the dozens of claims which used to be up and down both sides of the South Fork are gone.

More importantly: the promise that giving up those jobs would "benefit wildlife" and "a vibrant recreation based economy" never materialized. 

The school I went to closed. It had 23 full time students the winter of 83-84.
The store, Silver Dollar,  Corner Bar all but dried up and blew away.

395,000 acres of pristine public lands was incinerated in "managed"(not fought) landscape erasing megafires known as "the Cascade Complex Fire".

Four BILLION dollars worth of timber was left to rot and waste. 

Now, that timber is creating log jams that clog rivers, impede fish passage,  strip away a thousand years worth of topsoil,  and contributes far more than the "12 tons, annually" of sediment that the Forest Service used as an excuse to close Sugar Creek Road. 

Since 2007, the Cascade Complex Fire has dumped more than a BILLION tons of sediment and debris into the Salmon River drainage. 

If the Forest Service is really concerned about "sediment".....why are they piddle-farting closing roads? Which generate almost no sediment? While ignoring the elephant in the room....landscape erasing megafires?

Historically,  logging and thinning has shown to REDUCE sediment through wildfire mitigation. 
The facts on the ground do not support closing public roads. 

Which brings me to my next subject: the Forest Service failed to hold a single public comment period before unilaterally declaring the roads in question "closed".

Anthony Botello and Payette National Forest supervisor Keith Lannom are more than aware of this,  were sued because of this,  and a federal judge ruled that the Payette National Forest violated federal law by failing to allow the public to comment before declaring roads "closed" to the public. 
The Payette National Forest then went through the appearance of "collaboration" to placate the judge, However, "the collaborative" was always told by the Forest Service that "those roads are already closed".

The shove it down their throats mentality by the Payette National Forest was on full display while the Forest Service pretended to be "involving the public" in 2016, while obliterating Sugar Creek Road before "the collaborative" was even given an opportunity to discuss the illegal road closures.

Here is undying proof that failed Forest Service management policies are destroying our forests, our communities, our ecosystems and economic opportunities......while claiming to "protect" it.

Photo credit: John B.

Photos: Kat A.

Scott Amos

Friday, May 25, 2018

Forest Service Says: "Who Gives a Damn if Yellow Pine Burns?"

"Who gives a damn about Yellow Pine?" 
Actual written words of a Payette National Forest employee. 
The Payette National Forest and their employees have been very vocal about "Paying Big Sur land prices" and deliberately letting Yellow Pine "burn to the ground" in an effort to drive rural residents out of the forests.

High ranking Payette National Forest management,  including then forest supervisor Suzanne Rainville, have told residents in public meetings: "maybe you shouldn't live in the backcountry anymore if you can't hike the six miles into Cinnabar".

Other officials,  like Joe Harper told county commissioners that "we [Forest Service] are closing the roads anyway,  and if you don't like it: sue me!"

Even AFTER Valley County sued the Payette National Forest for excluding taxpayers from public discussions,  required by NEPA and other federal laws, the Forest Service shuns public opinion. And high ranking Payette National Forest employees like  Sue Dixon write things like "NEPA isn't a democracy" in referencing how the Payette National Forest doesn't care about how the public wants our lands managed.

Namely: ending locking-it-all-up-to-watch-it-all-burn Forest Service management policies. 

It is very clear that the Payette National Forest management team "doesn't give a damn where Yellow Pine is!" (Their words. Not mine). Nor do they "give a damn" about Valley County, Adams County, Idaho County, the State of Idaho or any other person or entity who disagrees with their locking-it-all-up-to-watch-it-all-burn agenda.

Scott Amos 

Notice of Intent to Sue Boise National Forest

The Boise National Forest is deliberately excluding taxpayers from public discussions on social media.
A federal judge has ruled that Donald Trump cannot block people on his Twitter feed and other social media accounts because those belong to the office of the President,  and ultimately the American people themselves.

However, the Boise National Forest does not believe that they are held accountable to the same laws which the President of the United States must follow.

They block anyone of right-leaning political views who disagree with Forest Service lock-it-all-up-and-watch-it-all-burn policies.

Today, I served written notice to the Boise National Forest Supervisor that we will not stand for the Forest Service silencing our voices of concern for how our public lands are managed.

If you feel that the Boise National Forest has wrongfully silenced you on social media, please send a brief description of your concerns to Amos2500@yahoo.com

Here is a copy of the letter I sent the Boise National Forest Supervisor today:

 Notice of intent to sue.
On or about August,  2017, I was blocked by the US Forest Service Boise National Forest Facebook page from discussing issues listed therein.
A recent landmark decision by a federal court stated that President Donald Trump cannot block people on his Twitter feed, because that feed belongs to a public office. And not the President as a private citizen.

The Forest Service is a wholly owned public entity, which means that the entirety of Facebook posts, Twitter and other social media accounts belong to taxpayers such as myself. And NOT to any one public servant or public entity.

If the Forest Service has not unblocked ALL users on said social media outlets within 30 days, I and several other concerned citizens intend to file a complaint in federal court to address grievances with your office for excluding taxpayers from public discussions.

Scott Amos

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Epitome of Condescendion

Payette National Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom says that if you don't agree with the unlawful manner in which the Forest Service is closing roads, it is because you are either too stupid, or too "anti-government" to understand what a glorious job that the Forest Service has been doing.

                      Above photo shows historic Stibnite structure unlawfully burned to the ground by the Payette National Forest 

Below are email exchanges between high ranking Payette National Forest management team members which paint a bleak picture as to how stupid they think the general public really are.

Forest Service considers any written information that doesn't agree with their pre-written narrative to be "negative".

Jim Egnew, Mineral Resource Specialist for the Payette National Forest, in a communication with the Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom, deliberately misspells a patron's name. Calls him "wingnut". Violating the Hatch Act, using a federal position of power and authority to attack a taxpayer because of their political beliefs. Keith Lannom didn't discourage his management team from disparaging a citizen's political beliefs, and later actively engages in attacking citizens based solely upon their political views. 

     Krassel District Ranger Anthony Botello refers to me asking the Payette National Forest to comply with NEPA and other federal laws as "customary rhetoric". He dismissed the offer to privately fund the bridge across Sugar Creek and never created a gofundme account like he led me to believe that he would. 

Seems Krassel District Ranger Anthony Botello is very good at promising to "collaborate" with people to their faces, then go behind their backs and do the opposite as was agreed upon, as displayed in this letter from the landowners at Cinnabar. Anthony Botello promised to work with them to obtain a special use permit for Sugar Creek Road, then had the road blocked with boulders and oblitertated all while telling the public "the road is in better condition than ever before".

Why did the Forest Service waste $9,000 in taxpayer money, improving a road, only to then obliterate it and render it impassable?

After obliterating Sugar Creek Road, installing boulders and gates to lock the landowners at Cinnabar out, as well as the public, Anthony Botello drafted a letter blaming the landowner at Cinnabar for the closure of Sugar Creek Road. Payette National Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom repeated that lie in his official response to US Senator Mike Crapo who conducted a Congressional Inquiry into the closure of Sugar Creek Road by the Payette National Forest. The above letter, and many more like it from the landowners, directly asked the Payette National Forest to stop blaming them for the closure of Sugar Creek Road. The blame game from the Forest Service continues on in spite of such letters. 

The lies that the Payette National Forest continue to spew didn't sit well with the patrons of this blog or the general public. Many who wrote letters of concern over the closure of Sugar Creek Road to the Forest Service. All of those letters were ignored. Keith Lannom and his management team admitted to stalking dissenters on social media, and openly attacked them as "anti-government" and "wingnuts". Which is interesting, since many people who follow this blog actively work for the Forest Service and other government agencies, but disagree with the manner in which arrogant Payette National Forest personnel talk down to the general public, or disregard federal laws which must be followed by the Payette National Forest when closing roads to the public. 

Afterall, if you think that the Payette National Forest should follow NEPA and other federal laws, Keith Lannom says that you "aren't interested in facts". His minister of propaganda Brian Harris says that makes you "anti-government". Payette National Forest Minerals Resource Specialist Jim Egnew says that makes you a "wingnut".

Now I understand what the Payette National Forest means by "collaboration": agree with us, or we will simply stalk you on social media until you become smart enough to see that we are perfect, glorious and infallible. No public input welcome or needed. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Keith Lannom Admits to Using Illegal Travel Plan

I finally got a chance to review the letter Payette National Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom sent to Senator Mike Crapo in response to a high number of concerned citizens calling for a Congressional Investigation of his office.

You can download that letter here: 

Keith Lannom Letter to Senator Mike Crapo 


Can you help me out by signing this petition?http://chng.it/WHKrdXzz

Also: Citizens call for Congressional Investigation of lawless conduct of Keith Lannom:

I have never heard of "the paper of record" defense from the Forest Service before. Must be similar to the "we declared it closed a long time ago" argument that the Payette National Forest is notorious for using in the rare chance they invite the public to their road closure sessions they call "travel management".

Cinnabar, Idaho. Keith Lannom ordered Sugar Creek Road closed without public comment, which is a violation of NEPA and other federal laws. Lannom then falsely blamed the landowner for the closure of a RS-2477 historical public right-of-way. 

The "we want to collaborate" argument Lannom uses holds little water while the Krassel District Ranger tells rooms full of concerned citizens "we are closing the roads anyway,  and if you don't like it: sue me!" 
Nor does it hold water when the Forest Service conspires behind the backs of the collaborative, blocking Sugar Creek Road and other roads before the collaborative even had chances to offer alternatives to road closures. 

Private citizens, including myself, have offered time and again to raise funds to build a bridge across Sugar Creek. Even offering the use of mobile equipment we own and donated time.

Anthony Botello and Keith Lannom have flatly refused to look at those alternatives and insist on closing roads (such as Sugar Creek) while declaring that they were magically closed in the past, but fail to show the legal documentation it takes for the Forest Service to close a road. Such as emergency closure order for public safety, a Travel Management Plan where NEPA included public comment periods were followed,  etc. (As Keith Lannom points out, the 2007-2008 Travel Plan was ruled invalid by a federal court of law).

It is concerning to me that the Forest Service would continue to follow a management plan already ruled invalid by a federal judge.

But then again: if Keith Lannom or Anthony Botello believed that they had to follow the same federal laws everyone else must play by: we wouldn't be having this discussion. 

Just my two cents.....

Scott Amos 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Forest Service Proposes Revising NEPA Process

Letter sent to nepa-procedures-revision@fs.fed.us

Thank you for considering my comments regarding revision of the NEPA process. 

First and foremost: the NEPA process doesn't work when you have renegade forest rangers who deliberately exclude the public from the process altogether.

Such as the Payette National Forest closing Sugar Creek Road without holding a single public comment period required by NEPA and other federal laws, before unilaterally declaring it closed, gating it, and obliterating large portions thereof.

Senator Mike Crapo intervened after Valley County successfully sued the Payette National Forest for violating federal laws. Crapo helped institute a Collaborative. 

Payette National Forest management initially agreed to adhere to the Collaborative,  but then went back to destroying roads before the Collaborative even had time to review them.

Showing the world that the Payette National Forest is not interested in serving the public. Only their agenda for locking it all up to watch it all burn. 

That is why I have joined 12 members of the Collaborative and dozens other community members in calling for a congressional investigation into the Payette National Forest management and their lawless behavior, disdain for public interests.


Scott Amos 


----- Forwarded Message -----

The Honorable Senator Mike Crapo 

Scott Amos 


Senator Crapo, 

I and those cc'd (or bcc'd) would like to thank you for your continued efforts regarding issues involving the leadership of the Payette National Forest. 

The Collaborative you helped institute was a positive step forward in what has always been a confrontational relationship between the Payette National Forest and Valley County, plus the communities encompassed therein. 

However, it has come to my attention that the Payette National Forest leadership has abused the trust of the Collaborative, and has not been adhering to guidelines which they initially agreed to.

Furthermore, a lawsuit ending in 2014 against the Payette National Forest by Valley County and concerned members of the community found that the Payette National Forest blatantly violated NEPA and other federal laws. 

The lawsuit was ended on the terms that the Payette National Forest would follow NEPA, and assign Cooperative Agency Status to Valley County. 

The Payette National Forest went back on promises they made, by destroying Sugar Creek Road and other RS-2477 rights of way  without any opportunity for public scoping comments from either the Collaborative or members of the affected community. 

The attached letter is a formal response to the blame-game letter Payette National Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom sent you back in September. 

I believe that the actions of Keith Lannom and Anthony Botello warrant further investigation by the Office of Inspector General and Office of Special Counsel, in that the aforementioned were made aware of their actions exceeding the authority granted to the Forest Service by Congress. Especially since a federal court declared such. Which has not stopped unlawful road closures by the Payette National Forest. 

I would like to formally request that a Congressional investigation be instituted into the lawless conduct of Payette National Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom, and Krassel District Ranger Anthony Botello.

Thank you again for your time and efforts regarding this matter.

Please accept this email as my electronic signature. I will be mailing or hand delivering a paper copy to your office in the coming days.

Scott Amos 


P.S.: I formally request that any responses to this letter also be sent to Valley County Commissioner Gordon Cruickshank and those listed as cc'd in the attached letter.