Southwest Oregon gold miner Clifford R. Tracy has been charged for a second time with illegal mining. The 39 year old man was found to have a mining operation near a sensitive salmon stream along Galice Creek near Grants Pass.
Previously in 2009 Tracy had been convicted for illegal mining along Sucker Creek which threatened the Oregon coastal Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch). He was mining on US Forest Service land. This time federal prosecutors said that the charges were on his operations in the Stray Dog mining claim, while his attorney refused to comment on the matter.
Two Bureau of Land Management geologists traced the sediment discharge and found an excavator, dump truck and a half acre cleared area near the creek and a mining processing pond on 16 June. They returned the next day with two federal officers and found Tracy and three others working there.
Tracy refused to accept the suspension order and continued moving earth at the site and materials from the settling pond. Now he is due to appear in U.S. District Court on the misdemeanour charge. He is being supported by the Southwest Oregon Mining Association which says federal agencies take too long to process mining requests on federal land opened to mining.
Regulators have been known to place tiresome environmental requirements on streamside mines said Tracy. He added that he was working on a small portion of the claim to explore the area before filing a plan of operations.