By Dave McCracken

On June 6th, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) published its Final Rule on Section 228.4 in the Federal Register. Section 228.4 is concerned with when it is necessary for a miner or prospector to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) or Plan of Operation (PoO) with the USFS.

For around the past 30 years, Section 228.4 has said that miners or prospectors only have to provide notice to the USFS of our activities when impacts upon the surface resources might become significant.

As a result of the judge’s interpretation of this language in the recent landmark case of Lex & Waggener, last summer, the USFS implemented an Interim Rule with new guidelines for Section 228.4. Many of us within the industry objected to the Interim Rule, because it basically said that a NOI was required whenever a miner or prospector would potentially create any surface disturbance on National Forest land.

The USFS allowed a public comment period after publishing its Interim Rule, and they had at least one public scoping meeting, which took place in southern Oregon. That meeting was sponsored by the Waldo Miners in Cave Junction, Oregon.

The full version of the notice in the Federal Register condenses the thousands of individual comments which the USFS received concerning the Interim Rule into common categories, and addresses each type of comment with a response. These formal responses will become important later, in the event there are questions about what was intended by the Final Rule.

Michael J. Burnside, who was the U. S. Forest Service Assistant Director of Minerals and Geology Management in Washington DC from 2003 to 2005, has presented us with a substantial explanation about the history behind and development of the Final Rule.

For those of you who are taking an interest in the reasoning behind how the Final Rule was created, or what it means, I strongly suggest that you read through the entirety of the notice with an open mind. The rational behind the Final Rule is substantial, so I will not repeat it here. Rather, I will go into of the main points which I feel are important to small-scale miners:

1) Small-scale miners objected strenuously to the “any surface impact” concept of the Interim Rule, basically arguing that the USFS should not waste its limited resources processing NOI’s from miners that were not creating a significant disturbance on Forest Service land. We also argued that miners or prospectors should not be burdened with a requirement to notify the USFS of activities which do not create a significant impact on surface resources. As a result, the Final Rule returned to the “significant disturbance” concept.

Here follows a statement in the comment-section of the text on this subject:

Page 32729, left column: “If the operator reasonably concludes that proposed operations will not cause significant disturbance of NFS resources, the operator is not required to submit a notice of intent to operate.”

2) We also objected to the idea that miners or prospectors should be required to provide a NOI for any activity that may cause an impact upon Forest Service land that was similar to other users of the Forest that were not required to obtain any special-use authorization. Examples were given of the use of ATV’s, boats or rafts, camping and otherwise occupying the Forest while actively pursuing mineral exploration activities. As a result, the Final Rule specifically excludes from the NOI-requirement any prospecting activity which creates surface disturbances on par with other users of the forest who are not required to obtain special use authorization.

3) Within the comment-section of the notice, the USFS explains that they do not distinguish between commercial or, so-called, “recreational mining activity” or different types of mining clubs or groups. This position is consistent with our arguments that the mining law allows everyone equal rights to prospect on the public lands and lay claim to valuable minerals when they are discovered.

4) We complained that prospectors were having difficulty in some areas where the USFS was considering any prospecting activity a “significant impact;” even panning, metal detecting and non-motorized sluicing or dry-washing! As a result, the Final Rule specifically excludes these types of small-scale prospecting activities from the NOI requirement.

Here follows a statement in the comment-section of the text on this subject:

Page 32729, right column: “However, it is possible to identify some category of which will never require the prior submission of a notice of intent to operate, and the Department agrees the final rule should identify those categories with more specificity as suggested by the respondents.”

These are activities that are specifically excluded from the need to ever file a NOI. It means that under no circumstances do panners, non-motorized sluicers or electronic prospectors need to file an NOI; they do not have to make any contact with the USFS for these types of activities.

This is very good for the lower Salmon River area, by the way. Most of the activity going on down there two seasons ago involved the panning very rich pay-dirt located within the exposed bedrock cracks and irregularities along the edges of the river. Now, there is no question that small-scale prospecting and short-term camping along our mining claims do not require any NOI to the USFS in advance of the activity.

5) Any other mineral-related activity which is not likely to cause significant impact is excluded from the need to file a NOI. This is good for the industry. Naturally, whether this includes motorized sluicing (high-banking) or dredging will depend upon the situation surrounding the location where the activity tales place.

While such activity in most cases (according to my own judgment) would not create a “significant impact,” the USFS reasoned within the comment-section of the notice that there is the possibility of significant impact in some circumstances (such as when there is critical habitat present which supports a listed species), so they could not categorically exclude motorized mining from the NOI requirement. But they also did not specifically make a NOI a requirement of these activities. The Final Rule says that the miner or prospector should provide a NOI if he or she reasonably concludes that there may be a “significant impact.”

I should point out that within the Karuk litigation, the USFS has taken the position that they have no authority over mineral-related activity on Forest Service land that is not creating a significant surface disturbance.

Some people are already misinterpreting the Final Rule, assuming that motorized sluicing and dredging requires a NOI, because they are not specifically on the list of exclusions. However, a careful reading of the Rule says that any type of mining activities only require a NOI where there is likelihood of “significant disturbance.”

6) No penal provision has been added to Section 228.4. If I have this right, this means that the USFS cannot write a criminal citation to a miner or prospector who fails to provide the USFS with a NOI or Operating Plan. For more information on this subject, I suggest you read what the judge had to say in the recent McClure decision.

Some would argue that the USFS should not have the discretion to decide what is, and what is not, a “significant surface disturbance” concerning mineral-related activities on Forest Service land. There are also several sub-sets of arguments along these lines, such as whether or not the USFS even has authority to regulate mining activity within the high-water marks of western rivers in the first place, and what constitutes a “navigable river.”

These arguments have also been raised (but I doubt they will be resolved) within the Karuk litigation.

Until those issues are resolved to everyone’s satisfaction within a court of law, it is clear that the USFS believes it has the authority to regulate mineral activity which results in a significant impact upon surface resources, and they are moving forward with the presumption that they do. Therefore, they are taking responsibility to manage small-scale mining activity in accordance with this Final Rule.

Some would argue that miners and prospectors should be allowed to do whatever we want. As nice as that might be, I don’t think that argument is supported by controlling case law. The general mining law supports us a great deal. But not so much that we can turn our backs upon the rest of the world. According to its own interpretation, the USFS is charged with the responsibility of balancing use of the public lands at issue here.

The potential for problems do exist (as will always be the case) where there may be a difference in opinion between the USFS and a miner or prospector over what constitutes a “significant surface disturbance.” My own interpretation is that if such disagreements cannot be resolved between the USFS and the miner (especially in the wake of the recent McClure decision), if the USFS feels so strongly about it that they want to stop the miner from pursuing his or her mining activity, the USFS will be required to prove its position to a civil court (this is acknowledged within the comment-section of the notice).

So in essence, it appears the USFS has the authority to decide, but they must be prepared to prove their position in court before they can finally prevent the prospecting activity. This seems like a pretty reasonable balance to me!

The Karuks are suing to prevent the USFS from allowing any mining under a NOI. That case will be decided around the end of June, 2005. The Interim Rule required a NOI for almost any prospecting or mining activity. The Final Rule requires a NOI only for activity that will create a significant surface disturbance. As the USFS has determined that most of our small-scale mining activity does not create a “significant impact,” I would say that this Final Rule has been published at a good time for us.

While we can debate amongst ourselves how much better the Final Rule might have been if we wrote the final language ourselves, we should not ignore how much worse it would have been if the USFS decided to hold onto the language contained within the Interim Rule! Or they might have even come up with something worse than the Interim Rule!

I suggest we might want to acknowledge that the USFS did pretty well here to balance competing interests while continuing to encourage mineral development – which is their mandate from congress. We should be happy that there are officials within the USFS that take this mandate seriously!

I would suggest we move forward, continue to organize ourselves as we have been doing, pool our resources, and prepare to assist small-scale miners in those instances where we believe a local determination of “significant disturbance” is not reasonable. These are things to resolve in court. No amount of language in a Rule will prevent some disagreements from happening.

 

Dave's Gold

New 49’er Legal Fund-raiser!

There will be 25 prizes in all:

Grand Prize: 1-ounce of Gold!
Four ¼-ounce Prizes
Twenty 1-pennyweight prizes

Dave MackThis is gold which Dave Mack dredged from the Rogue River during the 2010 Season. Dave has authorized our office to automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc).

There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. The drawing will take place at our weekly potluck in Happy Camp on 2 July, 2011.

Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49’ers, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or by clicking Here.

 

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association,
27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012 www.goldgold.com

 

 

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 DFG’s 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 state’s 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 California’s 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.

Thank you,

(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

 

American Gold Eagles

The New 49’er Fund-raiser!

There will be 15 prizes in all:
Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle
Four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc).

This drawing will take place at our offices in Happy Camp on Friday afternoon, 8 March 2013. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You do not need to be present to win.  There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49’€™ers, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or online by clicking Here.

Eagle

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association,
27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012 www.goldgold.com

 

 
Dave Mack

“Assembly Bill 1032 is a bill that is intended to modify Section 5353 of the California Fish & Game Code to prevent or curtail suction dredging on numerous waterways within California.”

 
Dave Mack

We need You to Comment on DFG’s Proposed Dredge Regulations in California!

Please make a donation to our legal Fund.

The California Department of Fish & Game (DFG) released its long-awaited Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIR) and Proposed new Suction Dredging Regulations just as we were putting out our March newsletter. These, along with other information, can be found at DFG’s web site.

Now it is time for all of us to follow up with written comments. The deadline for public comment has been extended to 10 May 2011. Written comments should be submitted to Mark Stopher, Department of Fish and Game, 601 Locust Street, Redding, CA 96001. Or they can be faxed or emailed: Fax: (530) 225-2391; Email: dfgsuctiondredge@dfg.ca.gov.

Brief Analysis of Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR): I personally invested a healthy portion of the last month reviewing the massive SEIR and relevant portions of the California Fish & Game Code, the Resources Code and the Government Code. With the collaborative efforts of our staff and numerous responsible members that also have substantial experience in dredging matters, I have authored 38 pages of comments on behalf of The New 49’ers. This very comprehensive response can be found here in a format which allows text to be copied & pasted to help with your own written comments.

The naked truth is that DFG is attempting to impose substantial additional restrictions upon our existing suction dredge regulations (adopted in 1994). They are not doing this by providing any evidence in the SEIR that a single fish has ever been harmed by suction dredgers; but by adopting an entirely new baseline to which the affects of suction dredging are being measured.

During 1994, the impacts of suction dredging were measured against the baseline of ongoing dredging activity dating back to the 1960’s. But this Subsequent EIR is measuring the effects of suction dredging to a new arbitrary baseline of “no dredging activity” in order to make them appear to be substantial. This is because of the existing moratorium on suction dredging, according to the SEIR. But the moratorium was Ordered because DFG made Declarations in recent litigation that they had evidence to show a potential deleterious impact upon fish from ongoing dredging activity under the 1994 regulations. However, DFG’s “evidence of harm” has not materialized in their SEIR. Rather, they have decided to reevaluate all of the previous information (that was addressed in the 1994 EIR) against a “no dredging” baseline.

As if that is not bad enough; DFG has even taken it a step further in this SEIR by evaluating the negative economic and social consequences resulting from drastic reductions in our existing regulations as a “beneficial impact upon mineral development and economics.” The truth is that the burdensome additional restrictions they seek to impose upon us would eliminate dredging (in places where existing regulations allow it) across vast areas of California, and would reduce nozzle sizes along the remaining open areas to the point where it will be difficult to make money with a suction dredge. This will undermine millions of dollars worth of property values and, to a large degree, undermine dredge-mining as a small business activity in California. But rather than acknowledge the real consequences, this SEIR is measuring the economic impacts against an arbitrary “no dredging” baseline and making the case that lifting the moratorium would be a positive gain!

There are numerous mandates from the California legislature which require state agencies to measure real environmental impacts against the cost to Americans of implementing more restrictive regulations, especially upon small business. My own impression is that DFG officials have made a deliberate and underhanded attempt to corrupt this process. If you take the time to read my formal comments, I believe all of you will agree with my assessment.

It is a real awakening to discover that some government agencies are actively working to subvert the legal processes which they are supposed to follow, all in an attempt to eliminate economic opportunity that belongs to the public which they are supposed to serve.

Because DFG has overreached their legal authority with this SEIR, we have an excellent opportunity to push them back where they belong. But we are all going to have to help with this, because California is larger than Oregon and therefore requires a stronger push. It is not enough that we have figured out what is wrong with the SEIR and Proposed Regulations. We also need to generate a very loud cumulative objection! That’s where you guys come in.

Here is a sample letter or email which provides our main talking points. The addresses where the comments should be sent are at the top. It is better if you cut and paste from my sample to create your own comments, because form-comments are not as effective. However, if you are not able to do your own, you should at least add a date and send the form-comments in with your signature and address. This is a lot better than doing nothing at all. It proves that you are concerned!

It looks like we will be dredging again in California at the beginning of the 2012 season. As we will be held to the Final EIR and regulations that come out of the ongoing process, we should all work hard to make it come out as best we can right now!

Our Legal Fund Needs Your Help, Again!

All of this legal and political activity has been placing a substantial strain on our legal resources. So it is a good thing that we were out in front of ourselves pulling a new fund-raiser together.

Our existing drawing will be for three ounces of beautiful Rogue River gold that I personally mined last season. We could really use your help!

Make a Donation

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

www.goldgold.com

 

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

 

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

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