Originally published Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 06:00a.m.
Loss of life, liberty, property and community.
When did the rights of miners and prospectors get privileged status over human life and liberty?
After the Kirkland mine closed in 1985, a community of U.S. citizens purchased and developed lands near the abandoned “kitty litter” quarry. Now our rural community is thinking that their homes will no longer be a safe haven, that we will be deprived of our way of life and property, that our clean environment will be become toxic. This is a subtle form of forced relocation indirectly orchestrated by the BLM in order to support a singular corporate entity who will benefit from receiving free public-owned materials (pozzolan).
The BLM stands on the legality of the 1872 Mining Law, yet we as a citizens of the United States have a higher document called the Constitution of the United States of 1789. Amendment XIV of states: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…” The 1872 Mining Law grants access to individuals the right to claim materials but surely that right to claim cannot usurp a citizen’s right to life, liberty and property.
If the BLM permits this claim to proceed, they will take the position that the rights of a corporation exceeds the rights of the citizen.
Col Tom Pleitgen, USMC (ret)