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Brown prolongs freeze on suction dredge mining

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill Tuesday to extend a moratorium on suction dredge mining for gold, cheering environmental opponents of the practice.

The bill, AB 120, includes a five-year extension of an existing moratorium against the practice of suctioning river-bottom gravels in search of gold and other minerals. That would stop dredging at least until June 30, 2016.

The bill also prohibits resumption of the practice until the Department of Fish and Game establishes regulations to safeguard the environment and cover costs of administering a dredging program. Earlier this month, Brown vetoed a bill that would have prevented Fish and Game from spending any money to develop the regulations.

Environmental critics claim the mining stirs up toxic mercury in the river beds and damages sensitive fish breeding habitats.

Miners have disputed those claims and counter that the regulations are an illegal hindrance to an economically important activity.


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Showing 1-10 of 14 comments

  • jhmalaska 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand
    The Karuk council started their quest in 2001. look up http://www.savethedams.com/?pa... and watch the videos. Also http://www.savethedams.com/?pa... a report from the Smithsonian institute 1919 that said the salmon do not go above Klamath lake. The council are using the salmon as their Spotted Owl with the intention of kicking the white man (the council's words) out of their land (non soveriegn tribe has no land rights).
  • jhmalaska 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand
    Dang indian money just keeps flowing into the legislatures pet projects.

    Marshall McKay, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation
    donated $300,000 to the capitol unity center. Even though they originally promised $1.5 million for this project It is odd that the last payment comes shortly after the gov signs ab 120. Fair Political Practices commission (created by Jerry brown in his last term) said that the indian casino's are very good at influencing legislation.
    If it is yellow it is mellow if it is brown flush it down.

  • Brant Ra 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand
    Time for a lawsuit!
  • cwlbunch 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand

    well let see let go to sac a give jerry a gift of the 120 lbs.
    of mercury that I have personal cleaned up from the California river system So I’m
    think I need to go and put it back in the river seen it Jerry’s and the enviro.

  • oldmarine 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand
    What it boils down too, some jealous tree hugger found out you could work for yourself, getting gold from the ground, by using the dredge method. This method, often, REMOVES old mining mercury from the streams and rivers, nails, lead, and many other antique relics, during the process. It has not been proven to harm fish habit, as most of these creeks are fishless, and some only run in the winter/rain months here. Only specualtion, but what would you expect from our Government today, senseable laws? LMBO
  • TheRealMcCoy 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand
    This bill was based on nothing but myths and lies. The department of fish and game has already declared that the suction dredge permit program pays for itself, while the bills sponsers have used outdated numbers. Mercury must be heated and transformed into methylmercury before it damages the food chain. Methylmercury overwhelmingly comes from power plants, not gold miners. Gold miners introduce no pollutants into the river. Meanwhile the forces that back this bill all kill fish, or even worse, net and sell fish along side the road.
  • BigRetard 3 comments collapsed CollapseExpand
    Just more bad science, media hyperbole, and a Guv playing to his eco-groupies.

    Hey Jer. Gold is above $1600 a troy ounce ! The solution to the budget lies underwater.
  • HEFTY5 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand
    Prohibition all over again.
  • HEFTY5 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand
    Yup and at that price? I would not want to be forest ranger or f&g warden out roaming the woods and rivers,trying to stop any dredgers from their income. Kind of like home invasion.
  • dreagin 4 comments collapsed CollapseExpand
    I notice the article has a statement that reads "Environmental critics claim the mining stirs up toxic mercury in the river beds and damages sensitive fish breeding habitats." If you have ever seen a gold dredge in action you will learn that it is like an underwater vacuum cleaner. It does not stir up the mercury in the rivers, it cleans it up and takes it out of the rivers including lead and other heavy metals that would otherwise stay in the river and pollute it. It's better to have the mercury extracted out of the river than to leave it in the river where it will eventually make it's way out to the bay. Mercury is very heavy so it will stay in the dredge, not be stirred up as incorrectly mentioned in the article. In regards to fish habitat, there needs to be a study done to prove otherwise, not what a group believes. While these over-zealous environmental groups shut down recreational gold miners that enjoy the environment, they are not going after the real culprits that damage the environment (i.e. Big Business, Cities, etc. )
  • Dale Watkins
    Okay, let's say the suction dredge picks up the mercury from the gravel and retains it in the dredge. What does the miner do with that mercury when it accumulates? Does he/she do the responsible thing and dispose of it in accordance with the appropriate state and Federal regulations (even if there is a cost of disposal), or do they just dump it back into the stream/river? Indeed there are many sources of pollutants, and the regulators try to protect the environment from them as well. But realistically, the politics/economics of the situation sometimes prevent them from from being as strict as some would like them to be. I think recreational suction dredge mining is just an easy target. I worked for over 30 years in the water quality field here in CA, so I know what I'm talking about.
  • Jollygreen267
    The mercury recovered often carries "flour" gold or small particles of gold. The mercury would be taken back to camp and processed through a retort to recover the fine gold. The left over mercury is NEVER returned to the river. There is no point in doing that. All of the dredgers I've worked with have a flask or bottle of mercury. I have heard of some of the central california dredgers that have turned in pounds and pounds of their recovered mercury to state HAZMAT officials to show that "we" are doing our part.

    The thing that I just can't get my head around is this, if you had a loved one that got a great paying job with a company that was housed in a building laced with toxic levels of asbestos, would you allow them to work there ?? What the anti dredging lobbyists seem to be saying is that they acknowledge the mercury in the rivers and waterways. They seem content to leave the mercury in place believing that where it sits at the bottom of the river somehow prevents it's reintroduction into the waterway. The notion is completely asinine. Have you ever seen a river during a winter run off ? Or when a dam or reservoir is opened up ?? The volume of water moving through can be strong enough to remove bridges. Dont you think that as it's changing the course of the river that it might also be moving all that mercury back into the water column ??

    it's the equivalent of saying "Honey, you can work in that asbestos covered building as long as they keep putting paint over it."

    Tom Rosenlind
    "Former" Gold Dredger
  • TheRealMcCoy
    Miners usually sell their heavy black sand concentrates, to be processed, after removing whatever gold they can. I would guess large processing plants remove said mercury, if there is any.
  • dreagin
    I am a Democrat, pro environment, and also a gold miner but this moratorium is going to far. Next there will be an all out attempt to stop all forms of recreational mining I believe. The moratorium on suction dredging I believe is just the beginning. Next, there will probably be attempts to ban the use of a sluice box and eventually I fear the use of a gold pan. The fact that a study was not even allowed to verify the effects of dredging on the environment assumes it has a detrimental effect. Recreational gold miners enjoy the outdoors just like fisherman, hikers, campers, and other outdoor enthusiast. Environmentalist are barking up the wrong tree in this situation. The real destroyers here are the ones that divert waters from our rivers, companies that pollute, cities that overdevelop, and groups that encourage destruction of the environment, not recreational gold miners. I believe that all people that enjoy outdoor recreation need to ban together to stop environmental fanatism that is taking away our rights to enjoy the outdoors.

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/07/27/3796886/brown-prolongs-freeze-on-suction.html#ixzz1Twk96QOd
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