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Miner's News

UPDATE -- VOTE DELAYED. Vote on Suction Dredge Ban at noon on Monday, May 18

May 16, 2009

We learned from lobbyist Pete Conaty that the vote was delayed due to the absence of several Democratic Senators. Mr. Conaty said he spoke with several California Senators who confirmed they had received comments from concerned miners and prospectors, but more are needed. The vote will likely be rescheduled for Thursday, May 21, 2009.

Please take a moment to contact members of the legislature and register your opinion!

See contact information below.

Miners and prospectors need to get involved to prevent environmental activists from stopping suction gold dredging.

Senate Bill (SB) 670 is due to come up for a vote on Monday, May 18, in the California Senate. We have up until noon to register our opinions on this bill. Even if you are not a California resident, you can still help (see below).

SB 670 would outlaw suction gold dredging in California until the Department of Fish & Game completes a new environmental impact report (EIR) on suction dredge mining.

The EIR is already underway, yet environmental groups are not satisfied and want to shut down suction gold dredging regardless of the fact that numerous previous studies have shown the impact of suction gold dredging on the environment is de minimus (insignificant).

Public Lands for the People, the New 49'ers, along with their lobbying firm, have targeted several Senators who may be able to swing the vote in our favor. Please send them a message in addition to the Senator from your own district.

You must include your name and address to have your comments considered!

Senator Dean Florez
916-327-5989 fax

Senator Lou Correa
916-323-2323 fax

Senator Rod Wright
916-445-3712 fax

Senator Abel Maldonado
916-445-8081 fax

Senator Tom Harman
916-445-9263 fax

Senator John Benoit
916-327-2187 fax

To locate the Senator for your district, use this link. Type in your zip code, then click on the name of the Senator to be directed to their website. From there you use the "Contact Us" link to register your opinion. See the talking points listed at the bottom of this page if you need further assistance.

Please remember to also register your opinion with the Senator of the district where you conduct your suction gold dredging activities if it is different than your home district!

For non-California residents

Find the contact information for the Senator where you conduct suction gold dredging in California via this link—if you don't know the zip code, then check the cities listed under Senators' Addresses. Include in your comments the fact that you spend your time and money in their district!

Suggested Talking Points:

Dear Senator,

Please vote no on SB 670 (Wiggins)

• SB 670, would prohibit the use of any vacuum or suction dredge equipment in any river, stream, or lake in California until the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has completed an environmental review (EIR) of its suction dredge regulations.
• The EIR, ordered by the courts and subsequently funded by the state is now underway and scheduled for completion soon.
• Suction Dredge Mining has not caused the decline of the salmon population along the California Coast. None of the reports on the decline of the Salmon population issued blame suction dredge mining. 
• The 1997 EIR found that suction dredging had positive impacts, creating additional salmon spawning habitat by loosening concretized river gravels.  Salmon runs are on the upswing in the Klamath River. 
• There is no scientific evidence to support shutting down a legal and legitimate enterprise before the EIR is completed, particularly when prior studies fail to demonstrate any link between local salmon populations and suction dredge mining.
• Suction dredge mining is already limited in California to a short season that keeps the miners out of the rivers when they might harm salmon redds (where the eggs are deposited).  There is no suction dredging allowed when salmon are spawning.  There is no suction dredging allowed on the Sacramento River.
• A moratorium on suction dredge gold mining in California will violate the private property rights of Californians who have federal mining claims along the rivers, and result in very significant “takings” liability against the State.          
• The average small scale dredger spends an estimated $3,000 or more per month when mining.  Much of this money is spent in local, rural economies like Siskiyou where mining is popular. Tax revenues generated from expenditures such as fuel, groceries, camping, and mining supplies, means that rural counties and the State of California benefit as well.

Copyright ICMJ & CMJ, Inc. 2009. (Permission granted to link to this document by copying the web address above.)

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