Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Miners Versus U.S. Government: Which Claims are Accurate?
The tensions between the owners of the White Hope Mine in Lincoln and the U.S. Forest Service continue to run high as the litigation is set to begin. We exclusively sat down with the owners and they tell us the back story behind the dispute.
The sleepy town of Lincoln made headlines this summer because a fleet of armed men marched into town to protect a privately owned mine from the U.S. Forest Service, who the miner's say were threatening to take over their land and destroy their equipment.
"That's when it really heated up and it got the point that they supposedly hired a crew to come in and tear our buildings down and that's when I requested the Oath Keepers to come in for security,” said White Hope Mine Owner George Kornec.
To fully understand this dispute, we go back to 1924 when Kornec's family claimed the land under a 1907 mining law.
Fast forward to 1986 when the Department of Interior and Bureau of Land Management declared the mine claims abandoned because Kornec missed a filing deadline by one day, which he blames on a post office.
" I went to the clerk and recorder’s office, they notarized the paper, they recorded the papers and they said they wouldn’t be ready until after noon for me to pick up. So I went back and took the papers from that office around the corner to the post office. They had no sign stating that anything mailed after noon would be stamped for the following day,” noted Kornec. Another complaint by the forest service is that the miners have explosives on their property illegally.
"The powder magazines have been inspected and approved by the ATF. The Forest Service has no authority over it and the AFT and Forest Service has even had words over it. They're over stepping their bounds,” added Kornec...more