• Latest assault on dredging in California
Lois Wolk, the California State Representative who previously introduced a bill to eliminate suction gold dredging in the state but was halted by Governor Schwarzenegger’s veto, is up to her old tricks.
Jerry Hobbs, president of Public Lands for the People (PLP), reported that Wolk attached a rider to the state budget bill. The rider would call for the state to conduct a two-year study of suction dredging and prohibit suction dredging during the study period.
Hobbs reported that his organization is looking at a couple of options to try and remove the rider. The New 49’ers prospecting club is also working on this issue.
The budget bill has already passed out of the Senate Budget Committee, but it will likely go through many rewrites because the state is looking at severe budget cuts.
• Travel Management Plans
Hobbs and PLP attorney David Young also attended several meetings regarding the Forest Service’s Travel Management Plan in the Eldorado National Forest.
As reported in last month’s issue, PLP filed an appeal along with a notice of intent to sue the Forest Service because of the Eldorado National Forest’s refusal to honor the 1872 Mining Law and access for mining when it decided to close off numerous historic routes across public lands.
Hobbs stated that the meetings went as expected—Forest Service officials were ignorant of the laws and rights pertaining to mining. He stated that at least one claimant has already been denied access to his mining claims. A lawsuit is forthcoming to force the Forest Service to recognize the rights of miners. Unfortunately these issues may need to be addressed with each National Forest as they release their individual Travel Management Plans.