A land dispute is creating tension between miners in Josephine County and the Bureau of Land Management. The owners of the mines say they are afraid their rights to due process will not be respected and have now called in reinforcements.
The Oath Keepers of Josephine County are gathering at a piece of property near Merlin. They’re in the process of setting up a staging area, in order to step in if they are needed by the Sugar Pine miners.
The dispute centers around the validity of the miner’s grandfathered surface rights.
The owners called them in to help protect the property that they have mined for more than 100 years. The miners say documents they have grandfathered-in their surface rights to the property.
But the BLM says the documents are outdated, and at some point, the property has changed hands which cancels out the grandfather process.
While the BLM promises a fair process before any action is taken, there is decidedly less faith in the Federal Government than in decades past.