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1. PRINCIPAL DEFENDANT: Clifford Randall Tracy
D.  Oregon  CR-11-30027-PA
Clifford Tracy is a repeat offender whose mining activities have a negative environmental impact. Tracy has a history of repeated violations and his deliberate conduct in this instance resulted in a violation of the Clean Water Act.

In June 2011, BLM personnel identified Tracy's mining operation as the source of turbid water that had impacted more than 1.5 miles of Galice Creek, a water of the United States. Tracy's operation was not approved by the BLM. Tracy did not have a permit to discharge pollutants into waters of the U.S. from the mining operation. BLM identified Tracy as the operator of mining equipment on at least three different days.

In September 2011, Tracy was also charged with a misdemeanor CWA violation for his negligent illegal discharges to Galice Creek. Tracy did not have a permit authorizing a discharge to waters of the U.S. for his mining activities. Tracy's unpermitted discharges of pollutants to the creek threatened to harm or harmed the environment. Tracy failed to report the discharge even though he knew that he was not permitted to directly discharge any pollutants. Further, the EPA-CID was advised by the U.S. Forest Service and the BLM that Tracy's illegal conduct appears to represent a trend within the recreational mining community in Oregon.

June 22, 2011
Tracy was charged with one count of violating the CWA {33 U.S.C. 1311(a) - effluent limitations} and Public Lands use {43 U.S.C. 1733(a) - knowingly and willful violations}.

He was convicted after a 2-day trial {what's the date? It isn't in CCRS}
CITATION: 33 U.S.C. 1319(c)(1)(A), 43 U.S.C. 1733(a)
December 9, 2011
Tracy was convicted of the BLM charge but was found not guilty of the CWA charge.
February 6, 2012
Tracy was sentenced to 12 months incarceration and ordered to pay $4,360 in restitution for reclamation costs.

UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE District of Oregon PRESS ROOM February 06, 2012 Southern Oregon Miner Sentenced to One Year in Prison for Unlawful Mining MEDFORD, Ore. – United States District Court Judge Owen M. Panner sentenced Clifford Randall Tracy, 40, of Gold Hill, Oregon, to one year in prison for conducting unlawful mining operations on lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Tracy was also ordered to pay $4,360 restitution for reclamation costs.

In February 2011, Tracy proposed a gold mining operation on BLM lands on Galice Creek in Josephine County, Oregon. BLM informed Tracy that he must submit a plan of operations and post a bond before beginning any mining activity, because his mining proposal affected critical habitat for threatened species. Tracy ignored BLM’s procedures and began mining without BLM approval in May 2011, using heavy equipment to clear vegetation, excavate a large holding pond, and process soil, causing significant surface disturbance to land alongside Galice Creek and sediment discharge into the creek. His illegal mining activity was discovered in June 2011 when BLM geologists observed sediment discharge in Galice Creek over a mile downstream from the mining site. A photograph taken at the time is attached to this press release. BLM law enforcement immediately presented Tracy with a cease and desist order, but Tracy ignored their directive and continued to operate.

Tracy was convicted after a two-day jury trial in Medford. This is Tracy’s second conviction for unlawful mining on federal public lands. In November 2009, Tracy was convicted for unlawfully conducting mining operations on Forest Service land. In that case, Tracy became frustrated with the Forest Service approval process and began a mining operation along Sucker Creek, also in Josephine County, without any permits. He used heavy equipment to construct a road, excavate a large holding pond, and cut several large trees, resulting in damages totaling $30,695 for rehabilitation costs and lost timber value. He was sentenced to one year probation with no fine, restitution, or imprisonment. In contrast, the one year incarceration imposed in the present case is the maximum sentence that may be imposed under federal law.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Environmental Protection Agency, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Douglas W. Fong.

  • Clean Water Act (CWA)
  • Other Federal Statutes (Other)

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