New Anti-Dredging Bill Bad News for U.S. Miners

Take Heed

If you are a recreational or small-scale gold miner take heed. A new anti-dredging bill is now before Governor Schwarzengger in California as various special interest groups (the usual suspects, including radical environmentalists and questionable Tribal interests) try to force their collective will, narrow world viewpoint, and hidden agendas on the rest of us yet again.

Please read the following sent in by a reader and fellow miner:

"I just picked this up in email this afternoon. Because the precedent of this bill may lead to irresponsible actions in government throughout the nation, whether it passes or fails stands to impact recreational miners in all states."

"Will you consider posting what’s below, or at least the sentiment and time sensitive nature of it on your blog? Stopping the legislation means there will be time for revisions, and to allow more cool heads with less vested interest to prevail."

(Note: Here is the e-mail being referenced. J.R.)

"Senate Bill 670"

"Senate Bill 670 (anti-suction dredging legislation) was passed by the California Assembly several days ago. It will now reach the governor as soon as tomorrow (13 July)."

"Because this has passed through the legislature as an 'urgency bill,' Governor Schwarzenegger will only have 12 days to act on it. He can either sign the bill, or he can send it back to the legislature with a veto. If he signs the bill, it will immediately become law."

"A Moratorium on Dredging"

"The new law would place a moratorium on suction dredging in California until an updated statewide environmental impact is completed concerning the impacts from suction dredging and new regulations are adopted. That is likely to take years. So, there is a lot at stake right now in California!"

"What happens with miners in California is likely to follow in the other gold mining states. We have done our absolute best to stop this bill in the legislature. But the big Indian casino lobby (money) has outmatched us at every turn."

"Final Action Alert"

"This final Action Alert is the last thing I personally can do to stop the bill from becoming law. Now the fate of SB 670 remains in your hands."

"Our lobbyists are telling us that a large volume of messages to Governor Schwarzenegger right now is our last remaining hope of killing this harmful bill. The reason I say 'right now,' is because while the governor is only allowed 12 days to act on the bill, there is no assurance he will take that long."

"Here is an Action Alert which provides contact information and talking points to help you create your own message to the governor:"

"Thanks very much for whatever you can do!"

Dave McCracken

New 49'er Gold Prospecting Association
The New 49er's
27 Davis Road
Happy Camp, California 96039

(Note: My thanks to E. B. for sending this in and giving me a heads up. By the way, all of us owe a debt of gratitude to Dave McCracken of the New 49ers who has long been the point man in this ongoing struggle to keep small-scale placer mining and dredging alive in California. J.R.)