Please take a moment to contact the five Senators below…

Please make a donation to our legal Fund.

Oregon State Senators Atkinson, Haas and Bates have introduced SB 765, which would tax suction gold dredgers by charging a $50 annual fee for in-state dredgers and a whopping $2,500 fee for out-of-state dredgers for each county where the miner intends to dredge.

Under emergency status, this bill is now moving on fast-track through the Oregon legislative process. If passed, these unreasonable fees could be in affect for the upcoming season!

Please take a moment to contact the five Senators below to express your disapproval of this bill and remind them of the contributions miners make to the state economy.

Here is the email that we sent, individually directed to each of the Senators. Copy and paste as you see fit. We suggest it is wise to include your full name and address on your email.

Important: Please include that you would like your comments placed in the file regarding SB 765. Remember that you are exercising your right to voice your opposition to these elected officials, and they are charged with reviewing the bills brought before them-please be civil and polite. Just let them know that you oppose SB765, and you want to make sure your voice is counted on the record! The bill is presently in the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee. You should direct your comments to the following 5 senators quickly, before the bill moves on:

Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee
1 – Chair
Senator Floyd Prozanski (D)
South Lane and North Douglas Counties
District 4
sen.floydprozanski@state.or.us
Capitol # (503) 986-1704
District # (541) 342-2447

2 – Co-Chair
Senator Jeff Kruse (R)
Roseburg
District 1
sen.jeffkruse@state.or.us
Capitol # (503) 986-1701
District # (541) 580-3276

3 – Committee Member
Senator Doug Whitsett (R)
Klamath Falls
District 28
sen.dougwhitsett@state.or.us
Capitol # (503) 986-1728
District # (541) 883-4006

4 – Committee Member
Senator Suzanne Bonamici (D)
Portland/Beaverton
District 17
sen.suzannebonamici@state.or.us
Capitol # (503) 986-1717
District # (503) 627-0246

5 – Committee Member
Senator Jackie Dingfelder (D)
Portland
District 23
sen.jackiedingfelder@state.or.us
Capitol # (503) 986-1723
District # (503) 493-2804

Thank you!

Dave McCracken,
President, New 49’er Prospecting Association

The New 49’ers27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, CA 96039 (530) 493-2012

www.goldgold.com

 

Subject: Oppose SB 765

New 49’er Prospecting Association

27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, CA 96039 www.goldgold.com

Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee, Chair
Senator Floyd Prozanski (D)
South Lane and North Douglas Counties
District 4

Dear Sir,

Our organization represents more than 2,000 active members who participate in small-scale mining activities. Our members come from many States, and also from international locations.

As you may be aware, California has issued a moratorium on suction dredging until the environmental impact report which supports our regulations can be updated. The process is ongoing, but newly-issued regulations will not happen in time for the upcoming summer season.

Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) updated its own Administrative Process and issued new recreational-scale dredging regulations last year. My understanding is that 85 State-wide permits (out of about 1,200) were issued to people from California last season.

Senator Atkinson has made no secret that his intention behind SB 765 is to prevent non-resident prospectors from going to Oregon. And with a $2,500 fee for each permit, he will succeed in doing just that!

Many of our active members continue to prospect along our properties along the Klamath River in northern California. Since dredging is not allowed at the moment, they are engaging in surface mining activities (outside of the active waterway). This is all in conformance with California’s regulations and our ongoing Agreements with the U. S. Forest Service.

But to those who prefer to dredge, we have been encouraging them towards Oregon. Here is a link with several stories which we have published that promote Oregon as a friendly place to go.

Our members are made up mostly of normal middle class people (average age 62) who enjoy the outdoors and prospecting for gold. They arrive in RV’s which they place in local private parks. They eat at local restaurants, shop in local stores, buy fuel, get their hair cuts, and do all the normal things which Americans do. Wherever they set up on their vacations, or for the whole summer, you cannot find a better bunch of visitors who are helping to support the local economy.

The communities along the Klamath River in California lost millions of dollars last season because of the dredging moratorium.

We are all aware that Oregon has its own challenges in balancing its budget. I submit that the answer is to encourage more tourism to your State, rather than keep it away! All of us in the private sector know that the answer to fixing the economy is to provide more valuable goods and services, not less!

While Senator Atkinson may have his own issues with suction dredgers (issues which he has made in public statements), I can tell you from personal experience along the Rogue River last season that local businesses are quite happy to take any and all visitors who come their way!

This is not about the environment. Oregon DEQ and Department of State Lands have issued a State-wide dredging permit after studying the potential impacts.

This is about keeping non-residents from coming to Oregon! Otherwise, the non-resident permit asked for in SB 765 would not cost 50 times more than the resident permit!

This SB 765 is a crossroads for how Oregon is going to treat out-of-state visitors. The message to small-scale gold hunters is that Oregon does not want you! Is that really true?

Some of us have already purchased the existing permit from DEQ ($90 for a 4-year permit) in advance. Adding to our annual permit fee by more than100 times is a clear message. No couple will spend $5,000 on permits so they can spend a few weeks, or even a whole summer, enjoying what Oregon has to offer! Who could afford that?

With projected (perhaps much) higher gas prices by summer, it is already going to be difficult for Oregon to attract out-of-state visitors.

I encourage you to not allow this harmful bill to prevent out-of-state Americans to enjoy Oregon’s waterways.

Respectfully,

Dave McCracken
President, New 49’er Prospecting Association

 

“We must kill California Senate Bill 670!”

Dear Fellow Gold Prospector,

Our lobbyists in Sacramento have been working aggressively on our behalf to overcome California Senate Bill 670 which was introduced by Senator Wiggins on February 27. If passed into law, the bill would prohibit the State of California from issuing any further suction dredging permits until the Department of Fish & Game (DFG) has adopted new regulations pursuant to a full update of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that was completed in 1994.

The earlier EIR is what has supported our existing regulations for the past 14 years. This was completed after a very long and contentious process in which every potential impact upon fish from suction dredging was carefully considered. While they have refused to present any evidence showing that suction dredging under our existing regulations has ever harmed a single fish in California, the Karuks have been challenging the earlier EIR because it has not been updated since 1994.

During earlier litigation which we Intervened in, the Alameda Superior Court in California Ruled against the Karuk Tribe and DFG, deciding that DFG could not change our suction dredge regulations without first reviewing the existing EIR through the proper administrative process (which requires the least-restrictive regulations to be imposed upon private industry to resolve problems which must be demonstrated by best available science).

Ultimately, the Court Ordered DFG to conduct a proper review of our EIR. But the review process has basically been stalled because California is having serious financial difficulties (which are likely to continue).

If the Karuks have their way, this legislation will prevent further suction dredging in California until the full environmental review is completed. Then they will continue to do everything within their power, as they have already been doing, to make sure the review process is never completed! You guys see how this works?

Our lobbyists are right on top of this as the legislative process is underway in Sacramento. They are now asking for us to encourage all of our supporters to immediately send a letter, fax or email to Senator Wiggins which opposes SB 670, with copies to 2 other senators and Governor Schwarzenegger.

Here is a ready-made message (email, fax or letter) in opposition to SB 670. It is better if you just use this sample to write your own message. But if you do not have time to do that, please at least copy the text from our sample message over to create your own fax, letter or email to the Senator.

If you don’t know how to copy and paste material off the Internet, please click  here.

To make certain your message actually makes it to the Senator’s desk and to the other lawmakers, our lobbyists are asking that you please direct them to one of the following addresses:

The New 49’ers, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039

Or Fax your message to: (530) 493-2095

Or email your message to:

The girls in our office, along with our lobbyists in Sacramento, will then make certain that your message is delivered to the office of Senator Wiggins and to the other key lawmakers on the list!

Important: Even though you send your message to our office, the heading of the message should be addressed to Senator Wiggins as shown in our sample message.

Very important: You must include your own full name and return postal address on whatever letter, fax or email that you send to the Senator. That is the only way that these lawmakers can recognize and weigh the importance of your communication!

Thank you very much for your help in this very important matter!

Please Help to Support our Legal Fund!

Because our need to raise funds is immediate, once again, we have our ever-vigilant member, Jim Yerby, to thank for organizing yet another set of very valuable prizes for a prize drawing – which is already in progress. In addition to 53 very nice prizes which have been donated by others, we also are expressing big thank you to Jeff Kuykendal at Proline for donating a brand new 3-inch Proline dredge (worth $2,500.00) as our main prize, and to Louie Welding for donating a 2 ½-inch dredge/high-banker combo!

Here is a link to the list of prizes in this latest fundraiser.

The contributors of these prizes have authorized the girls in our office to print a ticket on your behalf for each $10 contribution that we receive from you ($100 contribution will generate10 tickets, etc.). This prize drawing will take place on 4 July, 2009. There is no limit to the number of tickets you can accumulate, or the number of prizes that you can win in this drawing.

Important note: The legacy of small-scale mining for precious metals in America is in our hands. This represents one of the last true freedoms remaining; we still have the right to freely explore for rich gold deposits and claim them for ourselves once found. We really ought to hold onto that one! Don’t you agree?

Please send financial contributions to: The New 49’ers Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039. Or, you can call in a donation at (530) 493-2012 .

Thanks very much for whatever you can do to help with the immediate matters at hand!

Dave McCracken

The New 49’ers27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, CA 96039 (530) 493-2012

www.goldgold.com

 

The Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger
Office of the Governor State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:

I urge you to veto Assembly Bill 1032 (Wolk) when it comes before you.

Regardless of the recent amendments, this bill should be vetoed for the following reasons:

AB 1032 turns California’s environmental law upside down and denies the average citizen our right of appeal by not requiring any proof of harm or damage to species under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The bill closes California rivers and streams to suction dredge gold mining without any environmental review!

The closures in the bill are based upon the “opinions” of two Department of Fish and Game (DFG) biologists in a recent court case. The judge did not accept these “opinions,” ruling that DFG must do an environmental review prior to any closures.

AB 1032 closes some rivers to suction dredge gold mining year round and then requires an environmental study will be done on these rivers. How can an effective study even be done if the activity is banned in these rivers?

There are numerous studies which have demonstrated that suction dredge gold mining causes no harm to fish when they are not spawning. Suction dredge gold mining is heavily regulated and limited now to only 2-3 months per year on most waterways within California.

Many suction dredge gold miners have federal mining claims. These are real property rights. By closing rivers year round, the State will in effect “take” these the productive use of these property rights from citizens. There have been numerous Federal and State court cases which have upheld these federal property rights. If it is signed into law, AB 1032 will surely result in more court cases against the State.

The bill will undermine a vibrant part of California history, destroy the economies of rural counties, and deny citizens their property rights – all without providing any demonstrable benefit to the State.

My family, myself and many other ordinary Californians enjoy this activity for both recreation and to make extra money. The allure of this activity is the same as that which brought the 49ers to California during the Gold Rush. It is an important part of California’s heritage.

This is not an inexpensive hobby or avocation. I spend a great deal of money on equipment, lodging and contribute to the economy of mostly rural California. Many visitors come from other states and countries to enjoy this great outdoor activity, all for the possibility of finding gold. If signed into law, AB 1032 would put an end to most of this economic activity in rural California.

Please veto AB 1032.

Sincerely,

(Be sure to include your full address.)

 

Talking points in opposition to AB 1032:

Assembly Bill 1032 has been amended to allow the California Department of Fish & Game (DFG) to arbitrarily close nearly all of California’s waterways to suction dredging. It would be bad policy for California to prevent Americans from making beneficial use of resources which attract visitors to the State, when such activity is not causing any harm!

DFG is clearly attempting to circumvent due process laws regarding the right of the public to notice and hearing which are required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the California Administrative Procedures Act.

This past year, when DFG attempted to change suction dredge regulations through a court settlement with the Karuk Tribe, Judge Bonnie Sabraw of Alameda Superior Court stated: “The initial Stipulated Judgment would enjoin suction dredge mining altogether in certain areas and during certain periods in others. The closures of the rivers would be generally applicable to all suction dredging while in effect. The injunction would essentially act as promulgation of new regulations on suction dredging, without such regulations being subjected, as required by law, to the public notice and hearing requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act and the California Administrative Procedures Act.” She further stated that, “The intervener Miners had sought discovery of the expert witnesses of Plaintiffs and of the facts on which the experts based their opinion. Plaintiffs and Department sought Protective Orders enjoining the discovery“. 

Miners are not unreasonable people. We have only asked for proof that small scale suction dredging is causing any problems to fishery resources. None were forthcoming from DFG, and they continue to refuse disclosure of any evidence that suction dredging under existing regulations is harmful to fish!

Results from scientific investigations, presented within the Environmental Impact Reports, prepared by the State of California, Clearwater National Forest and Siskiyou National Forest, provide substantial evidence to support the determination that small-scale suction dredging is de minimis and impacts from these dredges are less than significant.” These documents are the culmination of literature searches for scientific evidence regarding the impacts of small-scale suction dredging on the environment and consultations with stakeholders and concerned citizens.

The Siskiyou National Forest engaged Dr. Peter B. Bayley, Dept. Fisheries & Wildlife, Oregon State University, to conduct a “Cumulative Effects Analysis” on the effects of suction dredging forest-wide. Dr. Bayley concluded: “The statistical analyses did not indicate that suction dredge mining has no effect on the three responses measured, but rather any effect that may exist could not be detected at the commonly used Type I error rate of 0.05.” (In other words, if there is an effect, it’s so small they can’t measure it.) He further stated that “The reader is reminded of the effect of scale. Localized, short-term effects of suction dredge mining have been documented in a qualitative sense. However, on the scales occupied by fish populations such local disturbances would need a strong cumulative intensity of many operations to have a measurable effect.” He summarized his study by stating that, “Given that this analysis could not detect an effect averaged over good and bad miners and that a more powerful study would be very expensive, it would seem that public money would be better spent on encouraging compliance with current guidelines than on further study.”

The small-scale mining community is entirely prepared to meet our adversaries in a fair public process of debate concerning the impacts from our activity. That is the forum which is provided by CEQA under the existing laws. But we strongly object to what is being attempted through AB 1032, which is to allow DFG the authority to shut us down with no due process whatsoever!

 
Dave Mack

“We need your help now more than ever…”

Update concerning SB 670

As many of you are already aware, Senate Bill 670 (anti-suction dredging legislation) was overwhelmingly passed by the California Senate several days ago. The bill will now go to the California Assembly. Our staggering defeat in the Senate has our lobbyists in a full regroup mode, and I have asked them to perform a very careful evaluation of our prospects for success in the Assembly. This, so that we can decide if we still have a reasonable chance of killing this harmful bill there, or will only be wasting our time and limited resources.

If SB 670 passes in the Assembly, we will have one remaining opportunity to kill the harmful legislation by asking governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto the bill.

In the event that SB 670 is passed into law (would likely happen in September or later since California is struggling with crippling budgetary problems), no further suction dredging would be allowed in California’s active waterways until the Department of Fish & Game (DFG) completes an updated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and adopts new or revised suction dredging regulations if necessary. As this will take some time to complete, our 2010 (and perhaps 2011) season(s) hangs in the balance.

Since our financial resources are limited, and because we are up against what appears to be overwhelming support for the legislation, we need to carefully weigh our prospects for success (at killing the legislation) with perhaps a more effective solution of challenging the new law (once passed) in federal court based upon a strong legal theory that the State of California does not possess the authority to bypass its own Formal Administrative Process and eliminate our federal mining rights (especially since no evidence has been brought forward that suction dredgers have ever harmed a single fish).

To help you become more informed of ongoing developments, I have asked our lobbyists to provide an Update Memo.

Update Concerning Ongoing Litigation

All of this recent legislative activity (which will affect future dredging seasons) is happening under the darker cloud of ongoing litigation against suction dredging (which could have an impact upon our present season) in California. This is taking place in Alameda Superior Court (San Francisco Bay area).

Our adversaries recently filed a Motion with the Court for Injunctive Relief. They are asking the Court to prevent the Department of Fish & Game “from spending any funds allocated from the State of California’s General Fund on any activities which allow suction dredging to occur under the Department’s current regulations.”

Here follow the important moving Documents our adversaries have filed in support of this Motion:

Now; here follow our key responsive documents to the Motion for Injunctive Relief:

For those of you who have the time to review these documents, I believe you will understand and agree why I keep repeating that we have hired the best legal representation that money can buy! We are sooooo lucky to have James Buchal on our side!

While nobody can predict what a judge will do, I can tell you with complete certainty that we as an industry have done our absolute best at defending the rights of small-scale gold miners. We could not do it any better than we have!

There has been an enormous amount of legal activity during the past month, of which the briefs listed above are just a few. Basically, our adversaries are wasting no effort in an attempt to take away our mining rights without having to show that we have ever harmed a single fish!

Rather than go into all the details here, I have asked James Buchal to provide you with a short Litigation Summary from his own perspective.

Mr. Buchal’s opening statement about “fast and furious developments” in the litigation is truly an understatement. Since my job is to manage the ongoing legal defense and political activity on your behalf, I make it a personal responsibility to read all of the legal briefs and provide technical support and encouragement to the specialists who we are paying to defend our industry. And let me just tell you that we are really up against an awesome opposing force within the litigation. It is all I can do to keep up with the ongoing exchange of legal briefs and telephonic hearings!

In fact, there has been so much activity during recent weeks, our attorney was forced to devote an entire sleepless night just to meet filing deadlines with the Court on one round of opposing briefs. The Litigation Summary provided above was sent to me at 4 am on Saturday morning on Memorial Day weekend! We certainly have the right kind of guys on our side!

While the opposing briefs are ongoing, for our part, we will just have to see where the chips fall on June 9th. And then we will pick up from there and move forward as necessary. I’m sure you guys and gals will all stay tuned in!

Yes, I know there will be a million questions about what the Proposed Order means. And I can tell you with certainty that your guess would be as good as mine or anyone else’s at the moment, including the attorneys who are involved.

On legal matters such as these, I suggest that each of us must make our own individual choices. For me, since DFG is presently selling 2009 suction dredge permits (at least until 9 June), and they have already made a Formal Decision that they have no valid environmental justification to enact Emergency Regulations to stop suction dredging, I have already bought my own 2009 permit — and I fully intend to dredge this summer. It doesn’t sound like anything in this Motion will attempt to prevent me (or you) from doing that.

Our Next Moves

If the Motion for Injunctive Relief is granted by the Court, this would be one more reason for us to conserve our resources, cut our losses in the California legislature, and ask our attorneys to challenge California’s authority (in federal court) to bypass its own Formal Administrative Process and take away our federally-protected mining rights.

Therefore, we are in a holding pattern at the moment until we see what the Alameda Superior Court will decide in less than two weeks. This will allow our lobbyists time to survey our supporters in the California Assembly and provide us with a reality check on our chances of overcoming SB 670 through further political action.

Your Help is Needed Now to Support our Legal Fund!

I want to thank all of you who have responded to our past calls for financial assistance to help pay the specialists we have hired to defend our industry. Your help has pretty-much allowed us to stay even (until now) with the increased costs associated with all this additional legal and political activity.

However, I am informed that we just received an April legal billing in the amount of $13,433.50. On top of that, Mr. Buchal told me a few days ago that we should plan on his May billing to be more than April. June is also going to be high, because that’s when Mr. Buchal will need to attend at least one important hearing in Alameda Superior Court (June 9th).

Before you get your hackles up, I want to let you know that Mr. Buchal bills us at a reduced rate, and he does not charge us for all of his time. The existing situation has been taking up nearly all of his productive time. The value of his time billed through nearly any other law firm would cost so much that we would be forced out of the game!

Adding $3,000 for May lobbying expenses to James’ $13,433.50 for April creates a $17,433.50 outstanding liability to our legal fund — which presently has a balance of $ 4,276.98. This leaves us with a deficit of $13,156.52 with another legal billing on its way in just a few days.

This is an emergency!

We are fighting the biggest, hardest battles our industry has ever faced right now. You guys have always been there to help in the past. We need you more than ever right now!

Because our need to raise funds is immediate, once again, we have our ever-vigilant member, Jim Yerby, to thank for organizing yet another set of very valuable prizes for a prize drawing – which is already in progress. In addition to 53 very nice prizes which have been donated by others, we also are expressing big thank you to Jeff Kuykendal at Proline for donating a brand new 3-inch Proline dredge (worth $2,500.00) as our main prize, and to Louie Welding for donating a 2 ½-inch dredge/high-banker combo!

If anyone would like to contribute a prize towards our legal and political fundraising, please contact Jim at grizzwag@charter.net. What do you have that might be a good prize in our fund-raising?

Here is a link to the prizes included in this latest fundraiser.

The contributors of these prizes have authorized the girls in our office to print a ticket on your behalf for each $10 contribution that we receive from you ($100 contribution will generate10 tickets, etc.). This prize drawing will take place on 4 July, 2009. That is only about a month away! There is no limit to the number of tickets you can accumulate, or the number of prizes that you can win in this drawing.

Our girls are automatically issuing drawing tickets to every legal contribution that we receive from any of multiple ways of sending money. You can make legal contributions by calling into the office at 530 493-2012. You can mail a check to The New 49’er legal fund, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, CA 96039. Or you can also use a credit or debit card by using our new (secure) on-line form which can be found here:

Make a Donation

We need your help on this more than ever!

Thanks very much for whatever you can do!

Dave McCracken, President
New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association

The New 49’ers27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, CA 96039 (530) 493-2012

www.goldgold.com

 
Dave Mack

“Governor Schwarzenegger needs to hear from us all …”

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. 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. 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.

Action Alert

If you have not done so already, please send an email or fax to
Governor Schwarzenegger. (Note: Once you click on the “email” link, after typing in the required details, in the “subject” box click on “Other” at the bottom of the menu options. Then on the final page, click on “Con,” place “SB 670″ in the “Subject” box, and type or paste your message in the “email” box. Please remember to include your name and address at the bottom of your message).

For those of you who prefer to fax Governor Schwarzenegger, the number is: (916) 558-3160 or (916) 327-1009.

Here are some talking points to help you draft your own email in opposition to SB 670.

Please remember: You must include your full name and address on any message that you send to your assembly member or the governor!

Thanks very much for whatever you can do!

Dave McCracken, President
New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association

The New 49’ers27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, CA 96039 (530) 493-2012

www.goldgold.com

 

Email: patricia.hanson@sen.ca.gov
CC: Steve.McCarthy@sen.ca.gov, Phil.Nails@asm.ca.gov, pconaty@sbcglobal.net

The Honorable Darrell Steinberg
State Capitol, Room 4035
Sacramento, CA 95814

Oppose Assembly Bill 1032

(Date)

Dear Senator:

I am writing to you about a matter that is of great concern to me. Assembly Bill 1032 attempts to circumvent a court ruling (Karuk Tribe of California v. California Department of Fish & Game (DFG), Alameda Superior Court of California) which directed DFG to update its previous Environmental Impact Review (EIR) of existing suction gold dredging regulations in California.

Rather than complete the EIR as instructed by the court, DFG is seeking to arbitrarily eliminate suction dredging from California through legislative designated closures of over 20,000 miles of waterways. As AB 1032 presently is amended, I am quite certain that if it passes, my own mining interests within California will be completely undermined. This will cause hardship to my personal and business interests within California, and also to thousands of others like me.

I believe that this harmful bill was put together for the express purpose of destroying the existing and future small-scale gold mining industry in California, which is an important part of our State’s heritage and economy that has been in existence since before California became a State.

The Order of the court was for DFG to update its EIR on the impacts caused from suction dredging. That is all that is needed to make certain that existing regulations are not allowing harm to the important aquatic resources of this State – and to amend existing regulations where necessary.

It is bad policy to allow DFG to skirt around its responsibilities; and rather, with AB 1032, eliminate small-scale gold miners entirely from California, while not providing the state with any measurable environmental benefit!

Please vote “No” on this measure when it comes before the Natural Resources & Water Committee.

Sincerely,

(Your name and address)

 
Dave Mack

“We need your help now more than ever…”

Update concerning SB 670

As many of you are already aware, Senate Bill 670 (anti-suction dredging legislation) was overwhelmingly passed by the California Senate several weeks ago, and then received unanimous approval last week in the first Committee within the California Assembly. Our staggering defeats in trying to kill this harmful bill have prompted me to ask our lobbyists to perform a very careful evaluation of our prospects for success in the Assembly and/or with the governor.

Here is what our lobbyists had to say about how things went down last week in the Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee. This will give you a good idea of what we are up against. It is not good!

In the event that SB 670 is passed into law (which would likely happen in September or later since California is struggling with crippling budgetary problems), no further suction dredging would be allowed in California’s active waterways until the Department of Fish & Game (DFG) completes an updated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and adopts new or revised suction dredging regulations, if necessary. As this will take some time to complete, our 2010 (and perhaps 2011) season(s) hangs in the balance.

Preliminary research by our attorneys suggests that if SB 670 is passed into law by the State of California this fall, we have a reasonable chance of successfully overcoming it in federal court this winter. Our legal challenge would be based upon a strong legal theory that the State of California does not possess the authority to bypass its own formal administrative process and eliminate our federal mining rights (especially since no evidence has been brought forward that suction dredgers have ever harmed a single fish).

Action Alert

Senate Bill 670 will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations committee on July 1. Since we have zero chance of stopping the bill there, our lobbyists are asking us to direct immediate Action towards members of the full California Assembly and the governor, as follows:

1) California residents please send an email to your own Assembly member and Governor Schwarzenegger. Please click here to find the correct email address for your particular Assembly member.

2) Persons residing outside of California please send an email to
Governor Schwarzenegger. (Note: Once you click on the “email” link, after typing in the required details, in the “subject” box click on “Other” at the bottom of the menu options. Then on the final page, click on “Con,” place “SB 670″ in the “Subject” box, and type or paste your message in the “email” box. Please remember to include your name and address at the bottom of your message).

For those of you who prefer to fax Governor Schwarzenegger, the number is: (916) 558-3160 or (916) 327-1009.

Here are some talking points to help you draft your own email in opposition to SB 670.

Please remember: You must include your full name and address on any message that you send to your assembly member or the governor!

Our lobbyists are telling us that volume of messages to these officials are our only remaining chance to kill this harmful bill within the California legislative process. So please spread the word around that we need as much participation as possible right now!

Your Help is also Needed to Support our Legal Fund!

Once again, I want to thank all of you who have responded to our past calls for financial assistance to help pay the specialists we have hired to defend our industry.

I am informed that we have received a May legal billing in the amount of $17,000. Our legal account presently has a balance of $8,266. This leaves us with a deficit of $8,734. While we are making some progress in catching up on past-due legal bills, it would be much better if we could catch completely up during our existing prize drawing which ends on July 4th. That’s just 2 weeks from now! Can you please help a little more?

Here is a link to the prizes included in this latest fundraiser.

In addition to 53 very nice prizes which have been donated by myself and others, we also are expressing big thank you to Jeff Kuykendal at Proline for donating a brand new 3-inch Proline dredge (worth $2,500.00) as our main prize, and to Louie Welding for donating a 2 ½-inch dredge/high-banker combo!

The contributors of these prizes have authorized the girls in our office to print a ticket on your behalf for each $10 contribution that we receive from you ($100 contribution will generate10 tickets, etc.). This prize drawing will take place on 4 July, 2009. There is no limit to the number of tickets you can accumulate, or the number of prizes that you can win in this drawing.

Any funds that are received after the drawing takes place on July 4th will be issued drawing tickets in our next prize drawing.

Our girls are automatically issuing drawing tickets to every legal contribution that we receive from any of multiple ways of sending money. You can make legal contributions by calling into the office at 530 493-2012. You can mail a check to The New 49’er legal fund, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, CA 96039. Or you can also use a credit or debit card by using our new (secure) on-line form which can be found here:

Make a Donation

Thanks very much for whatever you can do!

Dave McCracken, President
New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association

The New 49’ers27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, CA 96039 (530) 493-2012

www.goldgold.com

 

(Name and address of assembly person)

Please Oppose Assembly Bill 1032

This is not the same bill that you voted for before on the Assembly Floor. AB 1032 has been amended so many times in so many different ways that it seems it is designed to confuse the Legislature!

The bill closes California rivers and streams to suction dredge gold mining without any environmental review or public process!

The closures in the bill are based upon the “opinions” of two Department of Fish and Game (DFG) biologists in a recent court case. The judge did not accept these “opinions,” ruling that DFG must do a fair and honest environmental review prior to implementing any closures.

AB 1032 closes rivers and streams before any review is done.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that suction dredge gold mining causes no harm to fish when the activity is done within existing California regulations. Suction dredge gold mining is already heavily regulated. It is limited to only 2-3 months per year on most waterways.

AB 1032 closes many waterways all year round without providing any biological justification.

Many suction dredge gold miners possess federal mining claims. Others own private property along these waterways. These are real property rights which belong to thousands of Americans. By closing the rivers year round, the state will in effect “take” these property rights from the property owners.

AB 1032 will destroy a vibrant part of California’s ongoing golden heritage, undermine the economies of rural counties and deny citizens pre-existing property rights – all without providing any demonstrable benefit to the public. Passage of AB 1032 will undoubtedly lead to expensive litigation as citizens have their property rights taken from them.

Please vote “No” on this measure when it comes before the California Assembly.

Sincerely,

(Your name and address)