August 27, 2008
The Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor, State of California
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: Opposition to proposed language within AB 1789 to further-restrict suction dredge mining:
Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,
Last year, you vetoed AB 1032(Wolk); a bill that would have required the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to close rivers and waterways to suction dredge gold mining without having to follow the administrative process required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
It has come to our attention that the proponents of AB1032 are now pushing anti-suction dredging language within Assembly Bill 1798. The language would further restrict or prohibit suction dredge mining on a wide number of waterways within California. The proponents of this trailer bill language are trying to make an end run to reverse your veto of AB 1032 by using the legislative and administrative process to eliminate this activity.
The Assembly and Senate propose to further-restrict or eliminate suction dredge mining until the Department of Fish & Game completes a new Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Because these permits are issued annually, and DFGâs last EIR process took several years to complete, this language would cause great harm to the Gold Suction Dredge Mining program in California, upon which 2,500 miners and their families and mining-related businesses depend, for at least several years; probably longer. In addition to the miners themselves, several rural counties, particularly Siskiyou County, would face significant hardship as a cornerstone of their recreation and resource-based economies is removed further harming the stateâs economy at a time when gold prices are at an all time high of between $800.00 and $1000.00 an ounce.
We would like to point out that throughout all of the litigation and other attempts to kill suction dredge mining by anti-mining activists during the last few years, they have yet to show any proof that a single fish has ever been harmed by suction dredgers. This, while the very same people are promoting that the State must continue to issue fish-kill licenses to millions of fishermen! This is clearly a case where special interests are attempting to subvert the political process to eliminate an important part of Californiaâs ongoing, rich heritage; gold mining.
We are asking you to please veto this trailer bill language and allow the continued issuing of Suction Dredge Permits while the required environmental review process is being conducted.
(Be sure to include your full name and address.)
Cc: Senator Dave Cogdill, Senate Republican Leader
Senator Don Perata, Senate President Pro Tem
Assemblymember Michael Villines, Assembly Republican Leader
Assemblymember Karen Bass, Speaker of the Assembly