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Legislative and Regulatory Update

Washington State copies California’s wayward regulations
On March 9, the Washington State legislature sent a bill to Gov. Inslee’s desk that will prohibit all forms of motorized mining in streams where Endangered Species Act listed fish are present. The governor is expected to sign the measure.

House Bill 1261 passed 60-35, while companion bill SB 5322 passed in the Senate 37-10, with votes passed along party lines; Democrats were in favor, while Republicans were against it.

The bill would make all motorized prospecting and mining illegal in ESA-designated waterways. Uneducated legislators swayed by extreme environmental groups continue to ignore the benefits provided by suction gold dredgers.

The evidence is clear that dredge miners remove heavy metals like mercury and lead and create desired thermal refugia as they clean our waterways. Dredging “seasons” were already in place so that dredging operations did not interfere with spawning seasons.

Bills like these passed in Washington State are the reason why we continue to focus our efforts on changes at the federal level. Utilizing federal preemption on federal mining claims, we believe these types of frivolous regulations can be overcome, and we continue to advocate for changes at the federal level during our trips to Washington, DC with Public Lands for the People. (You can read more about our efforts in the “PLP Update” column.)

© ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal, CMJ Inc.
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