ACTION ALERT: Suction dredge moratorium language on Governor’s desk

SACRAMENTO, 25 July 2011 – On July 14 the budget “trailer” bill, AB 120, was sent to Governor Brown for his signature.  Among many other provisions, this bill adds clarification to the state Department of Fish and Game’s budget regarding the issuance of suction dredge mining permits.  The Governor has until approximately July 26 to sign this bill.

This provision extends the current moratorium on suction dredge mining in the state for an additional five years or until certain conditions are met including new regulations that fully mitigate all identified significant environmental impacts and a proposed fee structure that will fully cover all program costs.

Earlier in the year, the Governor vetoed budget language that would have prohibited the Department of Fish and Game from spending any money at all in their suction dredge program.  His veto message clarified that he had struck down this provision as he wanted the court-ordered Environmental Impact Report to be completed and funding for suction dredge mining enforcement activities.

“We have written the Governor to urge him to sign AB 120,” notes Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin, CEO of The Sierra Fund.  “We believe that the budget trailer language in AB 120 will better protect California’s water quality, wildlife and fish and save the state some significant costs.”   A copy of The Sierra Fund’s letter of support, including the Governor’s office fax number, follows.

Suction dredge miners use a vacuum to suck up the dirt at the bottom of gold-bearing streams and creeks throughout the state – and the source of California’s drinking water.  Suction dredge mining has been shown by the Department of Fish and Game’s own documents to cause significant and unavoidable impacts on the environment, such as mobilizing toxic metals like mercury, destroying cultural sites and hurting wildlife.

 


Sample Letter

 

Honorable Governor Jerry Brown
State Capitol
Via Fax Transmission
(916) 558-3160

Re:  Support Signing AB 120 (Budget Trailer)

Dear Governor Brown,

I am writing to ask you respectfully to sign AB 120 (Budget Trailer Bill), and make it the law of California.  This bill includes provisions regarding the budget of the Department of Fish & Game’s suction dredge mining program.  I believe that the Budget Trailer language will better protect California’s water quality, wildlife and fish and save the state some significant costs.

This provision extends the current moratorium on suction dredge mining in the state until certain conditions are met.  Suction dredge miners use a vacuum to suck up the dirt at the bottom of gold-bearing streams and creeks throughout the state – and the source of California’s drinking water.  Suction dredge mining has been shown by the Department of Fish and Game’s own documents to cause significant and unavoidable impacts on the environment including mobilizing toxic metals like mercury, destroying cultural sites and hurting wildlife.

This bill will continue the current moratorium on issuance of suction dredge permits for an additional five years, or until such time as new regulations that fully mitigate all identified significant environmental impacts, and a proposed fee structure that will fully cover all program costs, are in place.  I believe that this is a prudent measure for both the state’s budget and our environment.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Your Name
Contact information

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