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PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
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As gold hits $1,700/oz. dredgers lament lost income

RICK EDDY, 55, of Pilot Hill stands with fellow miner, Steve Tyler, 61, at Tyler's home in El Dorado. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

RICK EDDY, 55, of Pilot Hill stands with fellow miner, Steve Tyler, 61, at Tyler's home in El Dorado. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

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From page A1 | February 01, 2012 | 55 Comments

Rick Eddy and Steve Tyler are gold bugs who think they are being robbed.

Their problem is that they are suction dredgers. They ply the rivers in their raft-sized crafts in search of gold. Until recently they were able to make a good living at it. Department of Fish and Game regulations allowed any California resident or non-resident to obtain a suction dredge mining permit after paying a nominal fee. On average 3,650 of these permits were issued every year.

However in July of 2009, in response to a lawsuit brought against the DFG by the Karuk Tribe of California, the DFG stopped issuing suction dredge permits. The lawsuit contended that DFG’s administration of the suction dredging program violated the California Environmental Quality Act and various provisions of the Fish and Game Code.

Then in August of 2009, all California in-stream suction dredge mining was suspended when Gov. Schwarzenegger signed SB 670. The bill prohibited the use of vacuum or suction dredge equipment in any California river, stream or lake regardless if someone had an existing permit.

This law was followed by Assembly Bill 120, which was signed by Gov. Brown on July 26, 2011. The bill established a moratorium on all suction dredging until June 30, 2016.

These different measures have drawn an angry response from miners and local leaders. The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors has sent multiple resolutions to the governor and state Legislature asking them to rescind or amend SB 670 and AB 120. Supervisor Ray Nutting has taken the lead in sponsoring many of these resolutions.

“Nine out of 10 people using this method (of dredging) are doing so for recreational purposes only,” Nutting said. “These are good people and the impact of what they do is minimal. In fact suction dredging can actually improve the environment by removing mercury or other debris in the stream bed. Politics is dealing yet another death-blow to our economy.”

In response to the moratorium, different advocacy groups have sprung up to protect the rights of miners. One of these is a nonprofit group called Public Lands for the People (PLP). It has filed several lawsuits against state and federal agencies.

On Feb. 8 a federal court in Los Angeles will hear a request from PLP to issue a stay against SB 670 and AB 120 on the basis that the laws are unconstitutional and constitute a taking of private property. In the meantime, neither SB 670 nor any other provision of law authorizes DFG to issue refunds to current permit holders and violators of the law are subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail.

Steve Tyler said that so far the moratorium has cost him 130 ounces of gold. At current prices that is over $200,000 in lost income. For Rick Eddy, it has cost him his livelihood. There has also been a cost to the California economy. According to an estimate by the PLP, it is costing California $100 million dollars a year in lost revenue.

The issue of balancing economic interests with environmental one is a touchy one in California. Miners like Rick and Steve note that while the original miners did pollute the rivers by washing down whole mountains, modern miners don’t do that, he said. “We care for the environment,” said Rick.

They also stated that the danger from mercury is overstated. Only 2 percent of the mercury they dredge goes back into the water, said Rick. The rest is captured along with an assortment of trash that has found its way into the America’s waterways including tons of aluminum cans, plastic bags and bottles, glass bottles, old shoes, clothing, boat paddles and other garbage which the dredgers pull up and remove. We’re actually helping to clean up the rivers,” said the miners.

Besides the gold, other valuables are also brought up through dredging. Steve has found metal pick ax heads and coins as well as a front lock musket and pepperbox pistol from the 1800s. Normally the wood would have rotted away but in this case Steve recovered the musket and pistol in fairly good condition.

Current laws do not prohibit or restrict non-motorized recreational mining activities such as panning for gold. They also do not prohibit or restrict other kinds of mining operations such as power sluicing, high banking, sniping or using a gravity dredge as long as gravel and earthen materials are not vacuumed with a motorized system from the river or stream.

Ultimately the issue will be settled by the science and in the courts. But in the meantime, Steve, Rick and other suction dredgers feel that they have been robbed of their rights and their livelihood.

“We don’t have a revenue problem, said Supervisor Nutting. “We have a regulatory problem,” The state is regulating us off our lands and taking our rights away.”

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Discussion | 55 comments

  • EldoradoFebruary 01, 2012 - 7:39 am

    Another bit of government crap. Their own study found that dredging did not adversely affect the stream wildlife, so rather than release that information they asked the legislature to ban dredging. People laughed when several southern California counties proposed forming a new state because of actions like this. I said then and I say now, "Join Them!" We could call the new state, "Freedom."

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  • HangclownFebruary 02, 2012 - 12:37 pm

    You could call the new state Poverty, since the economic engines of CA are the liberal areas.

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  • CSTFebruary 04, 2012 - 10:06 am

    WRONG. Agriculture is the states lasting wealth creating industry. Tech is once again a bubble ripe for bursting. Computer technology has reached it's apex where the innovations being created are creating entertainment but now are a drag on "wealth creating productivity". That is why the price of food relative to all other products, except gold, is rapidly climbing, while even new tech products are getting cheap. We are headed for the same catastrophy that Germany experienced prior to Hitler. Soon it will take a wheel barrow of paper money to buy a loaf of bread. It will happen within 10 years if the liberals keep spending us into oblivion. We have yet to see the kind of pain that will come when no one will buy our debt. Right now you could argue that it has already started since our govenment is buying most of its own debt. Like a cow sucking her own teet.

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  • Brad JonesFebruary 01, 2012 - 1:25 pm

    Thank you Dawn Hodson! Finally, a news story on the suction dredge mining ban in California that tells it like it is.

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  • MasonFebruary 01, 2012 - 2:43 pm

    Mrs. Hodson, Thank you for writing a fair and truthful piece. Please continue to follow up on this injustice by the state of California.

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  • Brad JonesFebruary 01, 2012 - 2:51 pm

    I would like to thank your newspaper for printing the truth about the suction dredge mining ban in California and the hardship that gold prospectors have faced at a time when they should be enjoying the recent surge in gold prices. Reporter Dawn Hodson did a great job on this story! The Gold Prospectors Association of America would like to encourage your newspaper to dig a little deeper to uncover the truth about the federal government’s land grabs and attempts to shut down prospecting on public lands — a right of every American under the Mining Law of 1872. The government, with the help of the environmental extremists, has used National Monument designations, Wild & Scenic River, Wilderness Area and other designations to deny the public the right to access public lands. They are skirting the law and slowly, but surely claiming public lands as government land. All one has to do is look at the leaked Department of Interior memo a few years ago that had earmarked a proposed 13-million acre land grab and United Nations Agenda 21 to see the extent of how far the government will go to lock up the country’s natural resources — like gold!

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  • MDReaderFebruary 02, 2012 - 5:38 am

    Many otherwise intelligent people, including most public officials, think Agenda 21 doesn't exist. They are dead wrong. This U.N. program stealthily encroaches upon our rights and resources, stealing them from under our very noses. In ignorance - or avarice - the county and city aids and abets. A Citizens' Agenda 21 Study Group is urgently needed for bringing to public attention the purpose and methods of this program. It is like an infectious pathogen, eating away at the common good and destroying the future.

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  • Jerry HobbsFebruary 01, 2012 - 3:31 pm

    Thanks for the good article and hope that you can cover more on the facts about how the moratorium has affected teh miners and the economy of the mid and northern counties of California.

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  • GeorgeFebruary 01, 2012 - 10:39 pm

    Freedom sounds good to me count me in.

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  • Underserved TaxpayerFebruary 02, 2012 - 7:40 am

    Maybe it is time for a test case. Keep on dredging and see what might happen.

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  • sureFebruary 02, 2012 - 10:45 am

    after you

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  • rickFebruary 02, 2012 - 8:57 am

    Thanks Dawn, great story lots of truth. However I want to point out that 9 out of ten people dont dredge for recreation. They all do it for money. Because gold is money.

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  • Michael BensonFebruary 02, 2012 - 9:40 am

    Kudos to this paper for a unbiased story. In the past I have read other dredging stories that are so biased against mining. Did you know one of the "NEW" issues Fish and Game has come up with to stop dredging is the yellow logged frog ? Turns out that non native trout are an enemy to the Yellow legged frog. The same trout Fish and game stocks in our rivers. But let's blame the dredgers. Several years ago the Sacramento Bee published an article about dredging. One of the environmental groups in Nevada County was actually quoted in the paper stating miners recover mercury and pour it back in the river or down the sewers. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The amount of mercury I have seen in 30 years of mining would fit in a thimble. These kind of lies make me sick. Dredging is the most positive way to mine gold. It Improves spawning beds for fish, removes heavy metals, iron, nails, fishing lead by the pounds from our rivers. And yes that fishing lead is getting ground up by mother nature and left in our rivers. I care about our rivers just as much as these so called "environmentalists" who sit in an office collecting big money from Government grants that our tax dollars pay for. Why you and I work. Most of these groups are 501C non profits, yet many CEO's can make 80 - 100,00 a year from your tax dollars. It is time to wake up people. Your freedoms are being taken away one day at a time. Again, kudos for a truthful article, let's see more.

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  • William FurstFebruary 02, 2012 - 10:43 am

    Yes, it is definitely a UN plot. After all the UN is Sooooo powerful! LOL

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  • MARTIN SCHUMANNFebruary 04, 2012 - 11:57 am

    you need to read the un agenda for the world, and the programs that have already been started.

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  • Ken SteersFebruary 04, 2012 - 12:27 pm

    Martin I'm sure he already has. The only way people like them can be happy is when they are sure everyone else is miserable...

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  • JeanPierre KornFebruary 02, 2012 - 10:51 am

    The Bills SB 670 and AB 120 need to be rescinded due to the hardship it is creating for Miners who dredge in the rivers. Unfortunately these Miners make an income of daily living from dredging and this is now no longer in effect. They has succumb to going on Welfare and help from others who are in the same situation as they are. They can no longer able to support their families and are force on the Welfare line. Is this the intent of the “Representatives” of the people? Gold dredging on a local level for each individual is very small scale and not of the industrial kind which is misrepresented in the media. The Gold Dredgers are very ecology minded and do clean up the rivers from others who leave trash and hazardous waste. ( i.e. Rafters, and Campers) I witnessed a Dredger pulling out mercury covered gold and if it would of stayed in the river it would of contaminated the fish that came in contact with it. Again I state Bill SB 670 and AB 120 needs to be rescinded since so many depend on Gold Dredging for a livelihood and income for their families. Isn’t times hard enough for everyone why are we making it even harder for those who need us.

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  • Steven WrightFebruary 02, 2012 - 11:26 am

    Oh yes, hordes of unemployed workers for whom gold dredging was their sole source of income. How about some statistics to back up that claim? Also, why is it that some of you dredgers are claiming that you are cleaning out tons of mercury, and others are claiming that there is barely any to speak of? Just read the letters. You need to get your stories straight.

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  • chuck carlsonFebruary 02, 2012 - 9:17 pm

    Mr. Wright, why so bitter ? If you would take the time to understand the history, you would find out the answer to your mercury question. I have a degree in Geology. First, mercury is a natural occurring element in rivers, as is gold, silver, copper, platinum, etc. Most of the mercury deposited in rivers by mining came from Hydraulic mining which was destructive. Some streams have heavy concentrations, like south yuba and humbug creek. It came from the great malakoff diggins in the 1880's. Some rivers have no mercury or very little, hence dredgers find none. So call them liers ? They do recover iron, nails,lures, tons of lead from fishing etc. Lots of lead. Do you have any idea of what happens to soft lead as mother nature churns it up. It is ground up and gets into the water. This is more a concern than mercury my friend. Over 2 million fishing licenses are issued each year in Calif. (from fish and game) If each fisherman lost only 1/2 #, do the math, LOTS of lead. It's not just the unemployed miners that hurt. My brother owns a business in Sierra County. Go visit the towns like Downieville. The impact on Restaurants, hardware stores, gas stations, grocery stores, camp grounds is real. The town died as soon as the ban went in. It is being felt in many small towns. But I'm sure you don't care. The last year dredging was allowed, I counted about 6 dredges all the way from Indian Valley to Downieville, one of the most popular rivers in the state. (North Yuba ) This is over 10 miles. There are lots and lots of great swimming holes,and people use them. And miles of river with no dredges. Many dredgers will work claims maybe 3 or 4 days a week. Some more, some less. The river belongs to everyone, not just dredgers. But I guess you think we should stop the dredging so just rafters, swimmers and fishermen and women can use it. Most people aren't going to jump in the river near a dredge if it bothers them. There are miles and miles of open rivers. I have had families actually come up close with their kids to see. I then had the kids panning gold, and they had a GREAT TIME. This country has enough hatred, bias and bigotry. It is a free country and should remain so for all to use. PS. I served a short stint in the military in my young days to protect those rights for the Fisherman, swimmers, and YES DREDGERS.

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  • Russell GFebruary 04, 2012 - 7:43 am

    Steve -- perhaps you should take a look at the lawsuit. It claims that the dredges are bringing up mercury and causing it to harm fish in the river. So the entire hullaballo is about mercury. Dredgers cannot dredge (nor do we want to) when the salmon are spawning. The fish stay away from the suction end of the dredge hose and so do NOT go through the dredge. More salmon are killed prior to spawning by fisherman than will ever be killed by all the dredgers in the state. And as far as the mercury goes, perhaps these "scientists" should take a look at one of these rivers in flood stage. When the ENTIRE river is chocolate brown and huge boulders are being moved by the water. Get your facts straight.

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  • JimmyJanuary 28, 2014 - 1:26 pm

    if you want more Correct Info on Dredging and Fish ... you need to REALLY REVIEW THE TESTING that was not given to government rep's ...because it would prove the government body as a whole ... IS WRONG!!! www.TreasureBankGroup.com another prospector that has been feeding his family for over 30 years ... plus paying taxes!

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  • Ken SteersFebruary 04, 2012 - 12:29 pm

    Steven dredgers don't use mercury...

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  • MARTIN SCHUMANNFebruary 04, 2012 - 1:12 pm

    I personally know at least a dozen family's that have been effected in this area alone, which amounts 30 - 40 people. It is people like you that feel that you have the right to place judgement on others that cause hardships. I feel sorry for your kids and there kids. Also mercury is only found where it was used, not every location has mercury. .

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  • Ken SteersFebruary 04, 2012 - 3:34 pm

    It does naturally seep from the ground also.

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  • Steven WrightFebruary 02, 2012 - 10:53 am

    One guy wants to dredge a river where 99 other people want to spend a nice peaceful day with their kids, picknicking, swimming, fishing, etc. Whose rights do we respect? The one guy with his loud, obnoxious, stinking dredge fantasizing about getting rich, or all the other citizens who just want to enjoy their nice quiet surroundings?

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  • chuck carlsonFebruary 02, 2012 - 9:27 pm

    One other item Mr.Wright. Mining claims aren't free. some can cost 10,000.00 or more. You stated "fantasizing about getting rich". Yes, that's correct. A good claim can produce 20 / 40 ounces a year easy. At near 2,000 per ounce that is allot of money for 3 to 4 months in the summer. And yes, it does help to support families.

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  • MARTIN SCHUMANNFebruary 03, 2012 - 4:31 pm

    Buddy you need to take a vacation and go somewhere where someone gives a ---- about what you want, you are a hard ass that thinks the world revolves around you . There are people like you out there that don’t give a dam about others needs, but the mass majority does so give the miners a break. How would you like for someone to come to where you work for a living and tell everyone that you are screwing with their fun, even if they could move around the corner from where you are and still enjoy the same fun???? Grow up; support the constitution instead of Stalinizing it.

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  • Ken SteersFebruary 03, 2012 - 4:52 pm

    Correct me if I'm wrong but we do live in El Dorado County California, the place where gold was first discovered correct. Gold is currently $1700.00 an ounce. I remember after leaving the Air Force I went to our family property on the Mokelumne River near Rail Road Flats. I spent the summer sluicing and panning for gold. I'd sell the gold at the store in town. It was enough to feed me and buy my gas as well as a few beers on Saturday nights. Why isn't our county doing more to promote our miner heritage? How about a program backed by the county and managed by miners to provide jobs to students and the unemployed. Poor timing yet again by our government blocking an honest trade when good folks need it most.

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  • david dalleinneFebruary 07, 2012 - 7:04 pm

    i bet you dont want gay people swiming ther too...and maybe fat people..who else dont you like buddy..?..maybe we should make all the laws in the world revolve around your likes and interests.....personaly, i think we should make a law wher people like you are shot in the head....but thats just my personal opinion..

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  • rickFebruary 02, 2012 - 2:18 pm

    There are solutions to this problem of 99 swimmers verses one dredger. Like maybe talk to the claim owner and see if he would dredge early in the morning before swimmers are there. Or hold off until later in the season when its cooler and less people. If only we ask we can work this out in one particular area.

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  • david dalleinneFebruary 07, 2012 - 7:07 pm

    its a fantasy senario..how about this one....its my private property in the middle of no wher...if i see you tresspassing ill call the cops....but some how i cant dredge ther because of you...

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  • MARTIN SCHUMANNFebruary 03, 2012 - 6:32 am

    I find that our Government has given environmentalist free rein on any agenda that they feel needs to be fixed; they do this without peer review which is outlandish. If “they” do a study and find that an insect is in danger it is in danger. It has been found in a lot of instances not to be true, their needs to be back up before they can pull the plug and put people out of work. A lot of the closures to forest land and rivers are personal agenda programs, just because they don’t like it and they have the power to do whatever they want. In my opinion a large portion of the job loss to this nation is a direct result of their intervention, they have over regulated and made it so expensive to do business here that mfg., logging and mining companies are either closing their doors or moving out at alarming rate. Don’t just stand by and let them ruin our heritage and socialize our nation, remember it is WE THE PEOPLE!

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  • Linda JohnsonFebruary 03, 2012 - 7:01 am

    Mr. Schumann, if you would take the time to investigate the process, you would be surprised at the amount of rigor, peer review, public input, and proof that is required before these decisions are made.

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  • MARTIN SCHUMANNFebruary 03, 2012 - 4:36 pm

    I have and your wrong, most of the review is done to highlight there thoughts and there best interest. I agree some of the research is done IAW with science but a lot of it isn't.

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  • Ken SteersFebruary 03, 2012 - 7:14 am

    By Top People. Who? Top People. Mr Schumann rest assured that millions of your tax dollars are being spent to develope plans that validates our governments ideas for our future. All you need to do is investigate and you'll see how wonderful our government actually is...

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  • MARTIN SCHUMANNFebruary 03, 2012 - 4:39 pm

    Ya you are sure right about that, Agenda 21 will assure us that there is no future for the free.

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  • Ken SteersFebruary 03, 2012 - 5:13 pm

    I'm thinking that we are already in a Matrix situation where we think that our society is free but in reality we have all become fools. Maybe all that's left of freedom are those that live in the underground society

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  • AilamerFebruary 04, 2012 - 10:01 am

    One might look at why mining on a whole is dying or dead in California. REGULATION !!!!! We are still sitting on BILLIONS of dollars of gold that can be mined from environmentally safe tunneling anf underground processing. The state prospered when mining and permitting was a simple process. *0% of the value of the gold turned over 4 or five times before leaving California. Now that money is near ZERO. Investors REFUSE to invest in California mining. In Nevada investors are waiting in line to develop proven reserves. I live aboive a tunnel mine that produced 1,000 ounces a month until 1942 when the government sut it down due to the war. In 1952 it would have reopened. But gold at $35.00 an ounce and retimbering the mine made it not worth it. Recently a miner looked into reopening the mine. $500,000.00 deposit to the county for an environmental report. $2,000,000 to redrive the main tunnel and reinforce it with steel and concrete. But, the proven reserves would pay this back in a short period. Guess What? Nobody will invest in California Mines due to the state regulations and no assurances of a final permit being issued. Red legged frogs, Yellow legged frogs. Tiger salamanders, Fairy Shrimp, non-native fish. We could put Billions into the California. But, regulations make it impossible.

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  • Michael TarleckiFebruary 04, 2012 - 11:20 am

    You're right -- regulation stopped mud pouring down into the Sacramento river and drowned the city in sludge (Go to Old Sac and see the ORIGINAL street level.) You're right -- regulation stopped the use of toxic Mercuries and other chemicals that leaked into our rivers and streams -- after these mines were abandoned and TAXPAYERS had to foot the bill to clean these mines up. You're right -- regulations make it harder to tear open a hill or mountain with little regard for what affect it will have on those around me--after all your kids don't live next door. We do, but too bad for us. Yes, I know the "Free-Market" is suppose to make our world safer so your kids can drink the water or eat safe foods.... If the "Free-Market" wasn't rigged for the few--with no regard for our WHOLE community...

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  • MARTIN SCHUMANNFebruary 04, 2012 - 12:14 pm

    That was yesterday, and right that needed to be stopped. Let’s just think about the crazy things that our environmentalists are doing today, they are reassuring themselves a job to start with; Their idea of fixing something now is stopping it from happening instead of working on a way to keep people working, there are many ways to alleviate a problem without just outlawing it. The mercury pollution to the rivers in California need to be looked at in a scientific way, Dredging has been proven to remove 98% of the mercury that they suck from the bottom of the rivers along with lead and other toxic metals. Dredging makes fish habitat equaled by no one. So instead of condemning them and stopping them from making an honest day’s living get involved and figure out a solution.

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  • Ken SteersFebruary 04, 2012 - 12:25 pm

    Are all the people that are destroying our jobs and mandate regulations as smart as you Mike? Thank gawd we destroyed the US West Coast timber industry to save old growth timber living spotted owls. I'll bet that you don't know how much mud as you call it has ceased from flowing down the Sacramento River since the dredging ban. I'm willing to bet none...

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  • Michael TarleckiFebruary 04, 2012 - 1:47 pm

    You realize of course, that the "West Coast Timber" industry was destroyed by a Texas Millionaire (Horse and drag-race cars enthusiast) bought a No Cal Lumber company --> cost him so much he circumvented regulations and "Clear-cut" so much land mud slid off the hillside and flooded whole villages... Got more injunctions than timber sales--He stopped the whole industry in its tracks. Please note: Not one single case is pending today before the CA Appellate or Supreme Court stopping Lumber industries from cutting timber since the Quincy Library Group (Still has legal standing)... the mills closed because NO ONE is buying timber... according to Sierra Pacific Industries. I personally have no problems with "dredging".... but I do wonder about the impact on the wildlife (fish laying eggs) and larva feeding fish. Finding a middle of the road should be an answer. I know that "Trout Unlimited" and "The Fish Sniffer" have published several articles about some of these problems. A dredger looking for Gold == a trout fisherman looking for dinner. One is good as another... neither one is better than the other...

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  • Ken SteersFebruary 04, 2012 - 3:32 pm

    Nope, it was destroyed by a 60 something redneck Arkansas President that simply wanted to destroy an industry to appease is left winged people hating constituants. Who acted as if they had some infatuation with an owl

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  • Michael TarleckiFebruary 04, 2012 - 11:34 am

    About the "Red-Legged frog" regulation... I wish some people would read what it really said: There has to be some place these creatures can have a place to survive. You have to develop your property to let them exist (That costs more $$$) But no--Man says "Scr$# them, let them find some other place." No one said a word to Boswell when he had that attitude and grew his ranch to the size of Rhode Island. He scraped the ground, poisoned the land and blocked off ALL the water to an 60-mile wide lake, Tulare Lake. Destroyed a WHOLE environment. Now you and I are left to try and work around the viable land that is left over for wildlife and the environment. You want to live in a cement jungle with NO WILDLIFE move down to Bakersfield..they don't worry about "Red Legged Frogs" because they have NO frogs...because they have NO water.... The Boswell & Kern County Business have it all and will SELL it to you. (And believe me...it tastes Horrible...it's so highly treated)

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  • mac stevensFebruary 06, 2012 - 9:06 am

    It would appear that the legal eagles at the state level are mearly insuring thier positions at the public trough. There is no sub-species in science. There is genus and there is specie. Note no third catagory. The public was fooled on a grand scale with the spotted owl thing. The "northern spotted owl" as such did not exist then and it exists not now. This is mearly a description desribing intra species variation. Red heads are not a seperate specie are they? Of course not.This sort of faulty science is run wild today and unless we educate ourselves then this is what we will get.

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  • JohnFebruary 06, 2012 - 10:43 am

    Ken, when you mined that gold and sold it to feed your family, did you declare it on your income taxes? No, I thought not. Neither did any of the dozen or so ex-dredgers that I know. Some of them line up for their government checks to supplement their gold discovery activities. Parasites all.

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  • david dalleinneFebruary 07, 2012 - 7:21 pm

    john.. by the sound of it your friends a scum bags...and by association i guess your a scumbag too.....your logic my friend....you couldnt sound like more of an idiot if you tried...saying that all miners are tax avoiding welafre fraud super polluters.....wow im speechless.....i can only hope its some one like you debating on the other side,, then people will see the true nature of people behind this ban.

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  • KimFebruary 08, 2012 - 10:28 am

    John, I find your comment extremely offensive. I know many dredgers and not one is collecting a government check. The dredgers I know are hard working, conscientious, intelligent AND honest. Parasites? Are you kidding?

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  • Ken SteersFebruary 08, 2012 - 11:03 am

    Kim, Pay John no nevernind. He is currently on government assistance. So you can say he uses the term parasites as a common thread. Like calling someone a brother... Or possibly he's a worthless bitter old fool..

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  • CaptainBillFebruary 06, 2012 - 4:32 pm

    Parasites all...........you must be a very unhappy camper and a very uninformed camper at that! Before you 'judge' any group of people, I would suggest in the interest of TRUTH & Justice that you fully inform yourself of the reality before expousing your vile diatribes as fact, not your skewed opinions of miners! Let us all seek the truth! SB 670 stopped dredging in California until a 'NEW' updated EIR could be accomplished by Calfornia Dept of Fish & Game. This was pushed as an emergency measure through the California legislature based on 'supposed', 'possible' harm to the Salmon stocks in the State. No evidence based on study/science was presented, just personal opinions! The previous EIR on 'dredging' was passed/ with mitigation measures in the 90's, this was supposed to update that EIR, to see if anything was missed. My wife and I are 'dredgers'! We have NEVER killed even one fish, of any type! We ad nothing to the rivers, taking only heavy metals that collect in our 'sluice' box, the rest goes out the end of the sluice. We have collected many, many pounds of fishing lead, trash, mercury etc and have returned home to dispose of it properly. The very small amount of 'turbidity' we cause disapears in a few feet behnd the dredge....even a small rain introduces more turbidity into one river than all the dredges in the USA could accomplish in a year of running every day! We have NEVER killed or 'sucked' a fish through our dredge, the fish love us. When we break-up the compacted bottoms during dredging, it puts alot of fish food into the system and the fish will hang next to us waiting for a free meal, they are waiting for us each morning to start work, we even name them! The gravel we oxygenate creates excellent Salmon spawning areas! We are NOT on the 'Salmon' rivers during spawning or any time that would harm the roe. Spawning Salmon rest in the dredge holes in the river bottom when struggling up river to lay their eggs, it provides a cool refugia for resting before continueing their upstream battle. These dredge holes get covered over each year in the high water caused by winter storms(alot of turbidity)! We sell what gold we find at the end of each season, mostly on Ebay and we DO include this income on our taxes, have since we started dredging years ago. I am retired and my family needs this extra income to continuing to pay bills and NOT suck on the government 'tit'! By the way, all mining is very hard strenuous work! During the 'Great Depression' the Federal Government actually conducted classes on 'gold panning' to help the 'out-of-work' public get any kind of income. My wife's Father and his brother did just that, they survived the depression by small scale mining! This country, especially the State of California owes alot to gold mining, it was instrumental in 'creating' wealth that built the USA! Granted, some of the OLD mining techniques were very distructive to our environment, we have come along way since! Hydraulic mining was halted in the 1880's, we don't do that anymore, good thing! Today's small scale miner is very educated regarding our environment and 'treads' much lighter on the land than his predecessors. The SB670 EIR was almost finished and it revealed 'minimus impact' on any fishery or the environment in general, by dredging ! The EXTREME left saw the writing on the wall and didn't want this EIR to pass, it did NOT support any of their positions that dredging harmed fish! This is a document of peer reviewed science, not personal opinions that dredging may harm fish, but SCIENCE based on published studies. When an EIR says that 'minimus impact' is the answer, it means that it isn't effectively measurable.....what part of that is difficult to understand? However, that was the case and the extremists pushed SB 120 through the 'weak-kneed' Calif Legislature to stop this SB670 mandated EIR from being completed and adopted. Dredging is effectively stopped until at least 2016, I'm sure that further unsubstanciated attacks will surface before then! So, we have a huge amount of Counties, cities, and public in California that are hurting from the 1% greedy types (corporate theft)and extreme left agendas the say we can't dredge to help us make a living through hard, honest work! Our country is fast going in the toilet, California is already there!

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  • R MFebruary 06, 2012 - 5:20 pm

    All the grumbling and yelling in the world are not going to influence a government panels decision, except in a negative direction. What we all need to do is get science on our side and provide data that proves that our mining activities do not adversely affect the environment, and also provide data that shows the economic benefits provided to the state from a gold mining community. It all needs to be proven, gathered, and presented to the state by a unified organization representing mining and environmental interests. Lobbying is not out of the question, and please; yelling, posting disgruntled opinions, and threats only make a bad case for gold miners. We have to use reason and facts to oppose a well organized threat to miners livelihoods.

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  • mac stevensFebruary 06, 2012 - 7:26 pm

    Thank to Capt. Bill. MIning is nothing other than tribulation and flat out hard work. This man has clearly been 'at the nozzle'. The impact of such shortsided legislation carries far beyond the impacts to a miners' livelyhood.It is something akin to trickle up economics.This great nation has been sustained thus far through the fertility of our farms and the productiveness of our mines (as well the wealth of our fisheries) other than harnessing the power of the sun, there is no other form of generating wealth. All other economies are secondary to the big three, farms/mines and the products of our seas.

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  • fredFebruary 06, 2012 - 7:38 pm

    lets face it folks california cant tax us on what we find so they fixed it that we dont find. what more has to be said. in 2016 everything will be fine again with outragous fees for the state to makes money and we get the blisters. dont give up hope

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  • TommyknockerFebruary 06, 2012 - 8:04 pm

    Thank You Carl

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  • TommyknockerFebruary 06, 2012 - 8:14 pm

    @ R M...Thanks for the constructive criticism but we've already been through all that during the public comment period for sb670. We have peer reviewed scientific studies that DO prove that the effects of suction dredging are "de minimus". The Ca. legislature just did what it was paid to do irregardless of the data.

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