After heroically defending a taxpayer-defrauding bigot's cattle in Nevada and triumphantly driving their ATV's over Native American archaeological sites in Utah, anti-federal protestors this week starting dredging up a protected river in Idaho in response to new EPA regulations requiring them to get a permit before they can pollute a stream with mining waste.
"This is the United States of America, not the 'United State' of America. The feds can't come in here like storm troopers and start running our lands and rivers," protest leader John Crossman told Reuters.
Crossman, president of the Boise-based Southwest Idaho Mining Association, and around 60 other protestors gathered along a stretch of the federally-protected Salmon River on Monday to dredge the river—a spawning habitat for the endangered Chinook Salmon, among other species.
The protestors, some of whom flew Gadsden and Confederate flags and anti-EPA signs, used small suction dredges to suck sand and gravel out of the river and into sluices, where the heavier gold is separated before the waste rock is dumped back into the river.
"(The small suction dredges are) basically an extension of us," said Crossman, who added that the week-long protest is set to climax with a July 4th rally in Riggins, Idaho, to denounce "government tyranny."
According to the Idaho Statesman, many of the protestors removed or covered their license plates from their vehicles in an attempt to evade prosecution. In a decidedly non-storm troopery statement, the EPA said that the dredging operation could harm habitat for endangered species and violate federal law.