Supreme Court lets stand ruling against gold miners

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a ruling that makes it tougher for small-time gold miners to work their claims on federal lands across the West.

The high court on Monday denied without comment a petition to hear an appeal from The New 49’ers, a gold-mining club based on Northern California’s Klamath River.

That leaves standing a ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. It ruled last year that the U.S. Forest Service has to consult biologists from other agencies before allowing miners to do anything that might harm salmon protected by the Endangered Species Act.

The Karuk Tribe had sued after a Forest Service district ranger allowed the club to mine in the river without first consulting NOAA Fisheries Service.

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