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Court says emergency rule by California Department of Fish and Wildlife unjustified

July 5, 2013

On June 28, 2013, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) formalized an emergency rule to block miners from using any type of suction system to recover gold from a river, stream or lake. The agency claimed the emergency rule was needed to stop miners who were using a suction dredge with the sluice box removed to circumvent the current moratorium on suction dredging in California. Miners had been suctioning concentrates into a container to be processed later, according to the CDFW.
 
CDFW published the proposed emergency rule on June 18, allowed only five days for comments and declined to hold any public meetings despite requests by the The Western Mining Alliance and others.

CDFW acknowledged they received requests for the rule back in March 2013. The requests came from the usual suspects -- the Environmental Law Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity.
 
On July 1, The New 49’ers along with several miners filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and request for a preliminary injunction against CDFW in Siskiyou County. The miners were represented by attorney James Buchal.
 
Buchal was “articulate, professional, knowledgeable and he left no stone unturned in asserting that there was no ‘emergency’ as declared by the state,” said James Foley, who was present for the hearing.
 
Superior Court Judge Karen L. Dixon granted the temporary restraining order on July 3, 2013. She ruled that the regulation was "unlawfully adopted" and that no emergency existed to justify ignoring the normal rulemaking procedure. The order is currently limited to Siskiyou County, though Judge Dixon ordered the CDFW director to appear before her on July 30 as she considers a statewide preliminary injunction. 
 
The next hearing is scheduled for July 30, 2013, at 1:30pm in Siskiyou County Superior Court. If there are any changes to the date or time, we will post it here in our Recent News section. 
 
Many miners packed the courtroom for the first hearing, and it would be beneficial if that could be repeated for the next one.

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