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End The Ban On California Suction Dredging AB 120

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California's heritage is inseparably connected to the gold miners of past, with the gold rush of 1849 being one of the most well known in the United States. In fact, the California school system even devotes time each year to study and remember that many events that shaped our state to be what it is today were directly related to the gold miners and businesses that were started because of gold mining. You may be familiar with the stories of Samuel Brannan, Sutters Mill, and how the gold rush of 1849 was started, and how it helped shape our state into what we are now.

However, you may not have heard that in recent years the state of California has passed laws which are unconstitutional and violate our rights as modern day miners. The bill AB 120, signed by Governor Brown on July 26, 2011 prohibits miners from using suction dredges. This unconstitutional law violates the rights of miners to use suction dredges to recover gold from waterways, whether on private land or in publicly accessable areas which were legal to recover gold from prior.

There are people opposing the use of suction dredging, claiming that is damages the nesting grounds of fish. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dredging has been proven over and over to be beneficial to fish because it stirs up food and nutrients those fish survive on. Because of how suction dredges process the dirt and gravel, we actually remove lead and mercury from the riverbeds, and as for littering, I have only seen fellow miners cleaning up trash and garbage left over at campsites from other careless campers. The gold mining community is a group of friendly, nature loving people who just want to experience the pleasure of being in the outdoors.

See these links and see how small scale mining helps the enviroment:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaLhe2HbTA8
http://www.icmj.com/news-detail.php?id=200&keywords=Selenium,_Mercury_and_Suction_Dredging_--_Studies_Contradict_California_State_Water_Resources_Board

Also, There are countless businesses providing equipment and supplies to miners in California that are either hurting or have even gone out of business because of the restrictions places on the citizens of California in regard to gold mining. People are losing their jobs because of the laws California is placing. Even now this is making an impact on our economy and will only spread if we do not do something now.

These laws California passed also directly conflict with The General Mining Act of 1872. This federal law, approved on May 10, 1872, codified the informal system of acquiring and protecting mining claims on public land, formed by prospectors in California and Nevada from the late 1840s through the 1860s, such as during the California Gold Rush. All citizens of the United States of America 18 years or older have the right under the 1872 mining law to locate a lode (hard rock) or placer (gravel) mining claim on federal lands open to mineral entry. These claims may be located once a discovery of a locatable mineral is made. Locatable minerals include but are not limited to platinum, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, uranium and tungsten.


The state of California has been going back and forth over this issue for years, and the amount of money wasted in legal costs involved with this battle is outrageous for such a simple matter as this.

Please end the ban on suction dredging and give the citzens of California our rights back. Thank you.



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