The Sugar Pine Mining owners have been mining their land for a century but now the federal Bureau of Land Management is trying to take over. In response, an armed militia group known as The Oath Keepers are stepping in to defend the miners.
Oregon-based Sugar Pine Mining faced an April 25 deadline to get their equipment off the land. However, with the Oath Keepers help, they intend to fight the BLM.
Although the cost to fight the BLM is expensive, the Miners contend that it is not as costly as the infringement upon their rights.
“This case is headed in a direction that presents what is probably a once-in-a-generation prime opportunity to strike at the heart of the very surface management authority of the (Departments of the Interior and Agriculture) and to restore the ‘as patent’ rights of every mining claim owner in the United States by striking down the actual source of that intrusive authority,” they wrote in a statement.
The Sugar Pine Mining claim is the oldest in America, having been established in 1876.
Its argument contends that the government does not have the authority in the Galice Mining District due to it being defined by Congress as a “local governing body for and by miners” giving them the sole “right to create and enforce local rules and regulations” provided that they did not conflict with U.S. law.
The Blaze reported that the miners also argued they were not provided any evidence that their rights were severed by the 1955 Surface Resources Act, which would be the only legal way they can lose their exclusive rights to a well-established claim.
The Oath Keepers have stepped in to defend the mining community, which has produced more than 10 million ounces of gold and where geologists estimate as many as 90 million more ounces could still be discovered.
“That’s what being an American’s all about,” Blaine Cooper, an Arizona State Militia member, stated as he drove to Oregon, in a video posted to YouTube. “We don’t allow our neighbor to be enslaved or beaten or tortured by government jackboots because they want to steal our land and our resources to keep us under their thumb.”