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Oregon Senator Alan Bates introduces bills to restrict gold dredging

February 25, 2013

Three separate bills have been introduced in Oregon to shut down mining.

Senate Bill 401 would designate countless rivers and streams as “scenic” to restrict suction gold dredging. A one-quarter mile easement is included on each side of the river or stream.

Gold-bearing waterways that would be placed off-limits to miners include major portions of the Applegate River, Cow Creek, Grave Creek, Illinois River, Sucker Creek and the Rogue River.

Senate Bill 370 would impose a $125 fee on placer miners on private, state or federal land, and include a penalty of $1,250 and 30 days jail for those who fail to obtain a permit. While this bill states it applies to commercial miners, it does not clearly define who would fall under this category. It further states that additional rules and regulations would be developed by the Division of State Lands.

Senate Bill 115 would prohibit many forms of mining in or near waterways and outlaw suction dredging, which cannot be done without just compensation under the “takings” provision of the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution, which states, “...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

SB115 includes a threat of one year in prison and a $6,250 fine for violators.

These bills are being spearheaded by Senator Alan Bates (D-Medford) who has allied with the Oregon League of Conservation Voters to get their agenda passed.

Please take time to look up these bills on the Internet and contact the legislators involved. Whether you are an Oregon miner or from another state, politely make it clear to them that the state will suffer severely from lost revenue from miners and from court costs associated with these bills.

Contact information:
Senator Alan Bates
   (503) 986-1703
Senator Lee Beyer
   (503) 986-1706
Senator Ginny Burdick
   (503) 986-1718
Senator Peter Courtney
   (503) 986-1600
Senator Richard Devlin
   (503) 986-1719
Senator Jackie Dingfelder
   (503) 986-1723
Senator Chris Edwards
   (503) 986-1707
Senator Mark Hass
   (503) 986-1714
Senator Betsy Johnson
   (503) 986-1716
Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson 
   (503) 986-1725
Senator Rod Monroe
   (503) 986-1724
Senator Floyd Prozanski
   (503) 986-1704
Senator Arnie Roblan
   (503) 986-1705
Senator Diane Rosenbaum
   (503) 986-1700
Senator Chip Shields
   (503) 986-1722
Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward
   (503) 986-1717

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