To all that read this short letter:
My name is Jeffrey Kincheloe and I have been a resident of California for over 22 years. In the past I have watched many strange and utterly stupid bills and laws passed by the State of California’s elected officials. Why are we Californians the proving grounds for all the experimental bills in our country. Why must people push there so called good faith and concerns projects and not telling the truth or missed guide truth and not do all the required research? Read the next few pages for yourself. I’m sick to the core of my heart of all the so called protectors of the environment, land, wildlife, water and so on and so on. It’s one sided and miss leading.
The Sierra Fund says it Doesn't Want SB670 to Interfere with NID Plans
Jun 17 04:53pm Chuck Whitten Legislation that would place a moratorium on suction dredging in California's waterways has passed the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee.
The Nevada Irrigation District has expressed concerns that the bill would create problems with dredging the district's reservoirs, including a pilot project to remove mercury from Combie Reservoir and the Bear River. Sierra Fund Mining Project Organizer says they are promoting the bill, however, they do not want to interfere with N-I-D's efforts, "One of the things that the Sierra Fund has been doing, largely CEO Elizabeth Martin, who works extensively at the capitol, she's been very diligent to make sure, as best she can, that when that final bill does come out that that bill doesn't do anything to interfere with a project like NID is proposing."
Thornton says the Sierra Fund hopes the bill will be modified so that it does not interfere with N-I-D's plans to clear mercury from its reservoirs.
Jeffrey Kincheloe: So think about what you just read and read the article below. Why hide in the shadows and use a double sided knife. Either you are totally against it or not!
By: The Sierra Fund
NEVADA CITY, Calif. April 9, 2009 - Sent a letter today in support of SB 670! This bill was introduced by Senator Pat Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) to place a moratorium on motorized dredge mining pending a full scientific review and update of rules by the California Department of Fish and Game. The bill is scheduled to come before the California Senate's Natural Resources and Water Committee on April 28, 2009.
A sample letter to Senator Pavely and other members of the Committee including Senators Cogdill (Vice-Chair), Benoit, Hollingsworth, Huff, Kehoe, Leno, Padilla, Simitian, Wiggins and Wolk is attached, below.
The rules that govern suction dredging have been legally challenged and found to be out of date. The California Department of Fish and Game was ordered by the California courts to undergo a CEQA review and rule change as a result of a Karuk Tribe lawsuit filed in 2005. The courts ordered DFG to complete the review and make appropriate rule changes by July 2008, but they have not met this deadline.
Data generated by scientists at the SWRCB and other government agencies indicate that suction dredge activities disturb and mobilize the mercury left behind from gold mine operations. There is little credible scientific doubt about the impact of suction dredging in "flouring" mercury, nor the increased potential for methylation that can result. Methylmercury has been a regulatory concern of the SWRCB for several years due its known serious effect on human health. The following fact sheet documents the deleterious impact of suction dredging in the state, especially as it pertains to mercury disturbance as part of suction dredge mining for gold.
In a letter to the Senate Natural Resources Committee The Sierra Fund's CEO Elizabeth "Izzy" Martin noted, "In light of the state's budget crisis, we are very concerned that funding for this study will be slowed down, and the review could take many years. We are equally concerned that the well-documented impacts of suction dredging on water quality and endangered species will continue while this environmental review is underway, despite evidence of the harm of suction dredging."
For more information on the Karuk Tribe's lawsuit and the impact that suction dredging has on fish go to: www.karuk.us.
Sierra Fund website: www.sierrafund.org
Jeffrey Kincheloe: Other information that makes since.
Legislative and Regulatory Update
by Scott Harn
• Dredging bill needs your attention
Another bill has been introduced in California to ban suction gold dredging. This latest attack comes courtesy of California State Senator Patricia Wiggins, a Democrat in the Santa Rosa area.
Wiggins introduced SB 670 in the California Senate on February 27, 2009, designating it as an “urgency statute.”
The bill calls for the closure of all California streams and rivers to suction gold dredging until the California Department of Fish & Game “has completed the environmental review of its existing suction dredge mining regulations, as ordered by the court in the case of Karuk Tribe of California et al. v. California Department of Fish and Game et al., Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG 05211597.”
The environmental issues related to suction dredging have been addressed in numerous studies over several decades. Each study has come to the same conclusion—suction gold dredging is a de minimums activity, which means that it has no significant impact on the environment.
The best summary of suction gold dredge studies I have read so far was completed in 2007 by Joseph C. Greene, a research biologist who recently retired from the Environmental Protection Agency.
After reviewing all of the available data, Greene summarized his findings in a report for the California State Water Resources Control Board. Greene determined that suction gold dredging does not negatively impact water quality, fish, turbidity, water temperature, water chemistry, mercury pollution or the environment in general.
Greene concluded, “The issue of localized conflict with suction dredgers and other outdoor recreational activities can be put into a more reasonable perspective using the data provided... The issue against suction dredge operations in the streams of the United States appears to be less an issue of environmental protection and more of an issue of certain organized individuals and groups being unwilling to share the outdoors with others without like interests.”
The Next Step
California State Senators and Representatives will be asked to vote on this bill. It is up to you to educate them.
If you live in California, please contact your Senator and Representative. Feel free to use any part of this article to help you state your case, and include a copy of the study conducted by Joseph C. Greene. Explain to them that you would like a response indicating how they will vote for this bill when it comes up for vote. Politely make it clear that you will not vote for them at the next election cycle if they are in favor of the bill. You should also provide them with an estimate of your spending for fuel, food, supplies, lodging, etc., related to your dredging activities to help them understand that this will negatively impact the economy in California.
If you are outside of California but dredge in the state, feel free to contact the Senator or Representative for the district where you dredge and provide them with a summary of your spending as stated above.
Here are some links to assist you:
•California State Senate District Map (Click on the district and you will be redirected to the website for that Senator)
•California State Representative Map (Click on the district and you will see the contact information for that Representative)
•Summary of Suction Gold Dredge Studies, Joseph C. Greene, Research Biologist, EPA (retired). Adobe .pdf format; Microsoft Word format
•SB 670 (.pdf format)
Jeffrey Kincheloe:Since we are testing the rivers for pollutants, maybe we also ought to be testing for lead in the water too. As a suction dredger, I have found more lead and copper pellets, in my sluice than I have ever found of gold or mercury. There are literally tons of fishing weights and bullets in the streams. This being the case, maybe we also ought to also ban fishing and shooting too.
No one is addressing the fact that Warren Buffet has been sued because one of his dams has reduced the river flows and caused poor water quality the ensuing result was the salmon runs were reduced by almost 70 percent in this river.
The supporters of SB670 say the dredgers alter and or change the course of rivers and stream in affect altering the spanning habits of the salmon. What about the spring storms that swell creeks, streams and rivers 10’-20’ over their normal spring runoff. That much water coming down any body of water will change everything in its path. This happens every year. I think that the salmon have been dealing with this problem for well before we came into the picture.
Let's also check for nitrates or excessive blooms of nitrogen in the river. Since there are a lot of swimmers too, and in a lot of cases getting out of the river to climb a rattlesnake infested, steep hillside to "take a whizz" is often out of the question - so I am sure many of the hundreds of swimmers who populate the rivers on a daily basis probably figure that "once in the water and no one will notice" - so let’s be fair here.... maybe we also ought to ban all the swimmers because a few of them haven't learned common courtesy of not swimming where you defecate. Along with all the ranches and farms along the lower plans of all the bodies of water that ad to the problem too. Where do you think all the runoff from these ranches and farms go. Into the bodies of water and the water tables. Sorry to open your eyes. This is the problem with people now days. They only like to see what they want and not the whole picture.
In the last three years of dredging, the amount of mercury I personally have found in my sluice and on my gold could fit on the head of a pin.
There are only 3500 dredge permits issued in the state of California in a single year. And in most cases, those dredgers work maybe two or three days a week. We are not talking about a lot of people at any one time "stirring up the rivers". These 3500 people are spread across the state from the south to the north. This is a chain reaction that will affect all types of mining. Including the all of the 22,494 mining permits in California and what about the other 11 western states that also mines and the 50 different businesses in the state of California, that support mining and prospecting. This is a fast growing new/old business the people forget about when times are good and then remember when times are hard and fall back onto.
"A new Environmental Working Group analysis of government records shows that in 12 Western states, the total number of active mining claims has increased from 207,540 in January 2003 to 376,493 in July 2007-a rise of more than 80 percent. Between September 2006 and May 2007 alone, companies and individuals staked more than 50,000 claims (BLM 2007)."-BLM Website.
Mining claims have increased in every one of twelve Western states.
State Claims active as of January 2003 Claims active as of July 2007 Percent Increase
Colorado 5,430 18,391 239%
Utah 8,723 28,968 232%
Wyoming 13,710 38,138 178%
South Dakota 1,030 2,340 127%
Arizona 22,711 40,670 79%
Nevada 100,972 179,773 78%
New Mexico 7,550 11,348 50%
Idaho 10,598 13,013 23%
Montana 10,554 12,779 21%
Oregon 5,088 6,087 20%
California 18,981 22,494 19%
Washington 2,193 2,492 14%
12 state total 207,540 376,493 81%
With literally whole mountainsides and tons of mercury deposited in the rivers, banning suction dredging is like shutting the barn door after the horses have left. There is a huge problem of remediation out there, and where is the money going to come from to do this? Maybe ask an international banker. They may have a few trillions they may want to offer to our nearly bankrupt government.
Rather than banning suction dredging, why not educate and employ an already ready and able workforce who are already in the rivers cleaning them currently at no cost to anyone? Offer a bounty for mercury and lead recovered. Educate the miners on safe ways to capture and transport any mercury and lead found and you may surprise yourselves on the results.
Mercury and lead is obviously a problem, but by eliminating a willing and able no-cost workforce, you are not fixing an already massive problem, but only offering a band-aid until someone figures out a cost-effective way to remediate the problem. You are just attempting to shut out many people who also respect our rivers.
Here is one problem that no has thought about. These fish A.K.A. (Salmon) do not spend their life in the river and stream systems. They all go out to sea for a large part of the lives. While at sea they are subject to many other problems that are even a larger problem then what is at hand and no one could care less about these issues.
Here is a list of those issues:
1. Over fishing by commercial fishing outside of the U.S. water by other countries.
2. A huge seal population that is out of control.
3. Blocked water ways in to bays and river inlets change the course of the fish.
4. From the 1500’s to today there are over 40 shipwrecks along the coast of the United States and Mexico with Mercury, sulfuric Acid and other chemicals left in shipwrecks that cense it’s out of sight and under the ocean it is not there. Sorry folks it’s there and there is over 4000 tons of Sulfuric Acid and Millions of tons of Mercury, along with too much to list in this letter. Just remember that the Salmon swim all over the Pacific Ocean.
5. California alone has over 1800 shipwreck along its coast line. That all sank with fuel and oil still onboard and leak out to this very day.
6. Over just one year sport fishermen lose thousands of pounds of lead weights.
7. Chemical companies that created the world's largest DDT dump, DDT that has lingered for half a century on the ocean floor off the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Southern California
This is just the start of this, as an owner of a Shipwreck Recovery company and a summer time dredge. What is on the land is only a small part of what is killing the fish. What is in the ocean is 90% of the problem.
Rather than ban suction dredging, use state and federal funds to educate all of those people who recreate in the wilderness in order to inform them of the hazards to their health by eating fish that have been exposed to high levels of mercury, lead and nitrates or excessive blooms of nitrogen.
There has been studies done, that support both sides, of this argument in regard to the supposed "hazards" of suction dredging. The one you chose was the one that supports your side of the argument. The fish and game has other studies that suggest your position is inconclusive. The Department of fish and game would not currently be allowing suction dredging if they had current studies reflecting any other result than the one that they currently use.
You'd be surprised how many suction dredgers also feel that they are environmentalists too. I personally wouldn't be doing this if I thought I was causing any harm to the river. Rather than supporting a position that eliminates some of the many people who harmlessly recreate or actually make a living off of their visits to the forest, maybe try a different tact. Try working with the suction dredgers to help clean up the environment. A lot of these people have put blood, sweat and tears into working their claims and probably don't exactly appreciate being excluded from working on their lawful claims just because there is a hazard in the river that they are not responsible for putting there. In the spirit of common ground, let’s try to work together to find a way where a mostly willing and a able skilled workforce can work hand and hand with other environmentalists to clean up this big mess that none of us have any fault in creating, but all of us share the detriments of existing with.
Your "solution" is too short sighted and offers no actual resolution to this massive problem. It just denies the rights of persons who have just as much reason to be in the forests as anyone else does.
A proposal that supports education and offers both tools and maybe a small incentive for remediation would work wonders for creating collaboration between the Sierra Fund and everyone involved. If the shoe was on the other foot and we were denying your access for some off-the-wall reason, I am sure you too would be also looking for a common ground where we all could work together.
Creating a situation of "bad-blood" is not beneficial for anyone.
“The Enumeration in the constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” this is the 9th Amendment of the United States Constitution.
This means that the rights identified as written are not the only rights we as a people have. This also means that those making laws in government do not restrict their view of our rights as only those written in the constitution. This gives the responsibility to the legislature in making law, to first evaluate the necessity for the law, that it does not take away these other rights of the people. We have identified these other rights as “FREEDOM”. The freedom of the people is in-fact protected by our constitution.
Sb670 is written to stop river dredging, when in fact river dredging has held and still holds the respect of people as a right and legal method of the miner to retrieve the valuable metal from the river bottom. For the legislature to stop this activity without evidence of damage to the river eco-system is a false cause to protect the environment. It does not justify such restriction of the people’s right to dredge our river bottoms.
This is an attack on the rights of the people based on false cause and a clear disrespect by certain people in our State legislature who falsely represent their constituents and their obligation to defend the constitutional rights of the people. Please help by standing up to those that would destroy our freedom, and tell your state representative of your objection to SB 670, and to vote against this threat to our freedom.
Want to know why this country is in trouble, just take a few minutes to watch this video; you will understand what sheep are and why they are their own worst enemy.
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