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  1. #1
    Gold Seeker Guest

    HMMM, The Sierra Club Into Dredging???


    I thought that you and the legal team might be able to use this bit of info I found...

    "The Sierra Fund says it Doesn't Want SB670 to Interfere with NID Plans"

    "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 bet 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."


    This is in contradiction to what they say about mercury when we are dredging!!!


  2. #2
    maksutaSTAR Guest

    Sierra Club


    Mercury is a locatabel Mineral just like gold. You have a very valid point.


  3. #3
    tekno Guest
    soooooo its a locatable mineral and on your valid claim then they cant take it or the claim owner could press charges for mineral treaspass for takeing the Mercury,couldnt he?

  4. #4
    maksutaSTAR Guest

    sierra club

    Thats right Russ. Running a dredge or panning or sluicingon your claim without your permission could be considered Mineral Trespass. You own the minerals.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    San Bernardino, Ca.


    Public Lands for the People, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) Non- Profit organization has been fighting and litigating for people’s land rights for over twenty years. Now with the support of a new Non-Profit Organization, Western Mining Alliance, they are teaming up to file yet another lawsuit in San Bernardino County Superior Court.

    The lawsuit filed April 12, 2012 against the California Department of Fish & Game is a “Petition for Writ of Mandate and Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief”. In essence, the suit is asking that an Injunction be granted against DF&G’s ”newly adopted suction dredge regulations” and their Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR).

    The suit contains fifteen Petitioner/Plaintiffs including Public Lands for the People Inc.(PLP), Western Mining Alliance (WMA), Gerald Hobbs – President of PLP, Keene Engineering, as well as additional small-scale miners with vested interests. While PLP is no stranger to the legal battlefield, the addition of support from WMA has enabled them to increase the number of lawsuits it can sustain with their membership only funding and donations received from members and various other sources.

    WMA has taken up the challenge of partnering with PLP, combining their membership fees and donations, to bring more forces to bear against the DF&G’s newly adopted suction dredging regulations and their FSEIR. You may recall that California Legislators enacted SB670 in 2004 which placed a moratorium on suction dredge mining until the California DF&G completed an Environmental Impact Study on the effects of Suction Dredging on the ecosystem. In 2010, California legislation AB120 added an additional moratorium as well as other impossible requirements for DF&G to comply with. AB120 disallows suction dredging until 2016 (PLP currently has a case pending against the State of California and the DF&G regarding SB670 and AB120.)

    The newly adopted suction dredge regulations and the inaccurate and incomplete FSEIR add extreme restrictions on miners who are protected by the Federal Government’s 1872 Mining Laws as well as various other Federal laws. The State of California and DF&G are guilty of usurping Federal Law, which is unconstitutional.

    In the fifty years of suction dredging, there hasn’t been one reported case of harm to fish. With the adoption of the 1994 Dredging Regulations there is NO danger to fish or amphibian reproduction, since the DF&G has determine the critical time periods when spawning occurs, and regulates the suction dredge season accordingly.. However, overzealous environmentalists continue to ignore scientific “facts” and spread inaccurate and emotional fallacies.

    PLP and WMA are hopeful that the Superior Court will finally rule on the side of the miner’s Federal Rights, as opposed to the State’s Regulatory action which has completely ignored Federal and State requirements. This would be a major step in rebuilding much of the devastated economies of California which seems to have been sacrificed for the desires of the few!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    San Bernardino, Ca.

    PLP press release


    In March 2009 I wrote a letter on Combie Reservoir mercury project telling Senator Dianne Feinstein that if she gave the 3 million, back then it was 9 million dollar grant to NID and the Sierra fund that it was not a reclamation project but a mining project. I was a violation of SB 670 because Mercury was a locatable mineral and that it was mining not reclamation. Copied Below FYI


    A 501 C-3 Non-Profit Organization
    7194 Conejo Drive
    San Bernardino, CA 92404

    March 6, 2010
    Certified Mail #

    Senator Diane Feinstein

    Re: “Nevada Irrigation District of California (NID) seeks dollars for mercury disposal project at Combie Reservoir, recovery with suction dredge and centrifuge to extract mercury from soils in lakes and rivers”
    Letter by Dave Moller, Senior Staff Writer.

    Dear Senator Feinstein:

    Public Lands for the People Inc. (PLP), a 501 c-3 non-profit organization whose mandate is to educate and advocate for and regarding public lands.

    PLP has reviewed the attached letter by Dave Moller, Senior Staff Writer and finds that Mr. Moller’s summation of a project seeking $9 million in funding to reclaim mercury using a centrifuge is misguided.

    Misguided & Inefficient

    Mr. Moller states that “Pegasus designed their centrifuge to extract gold from ancient river rock, but company officials found it did a better job of trapping mercury, according to Monohan.” (Pegasus is a Canadian based firm)

    PLP has been studying and representing suction dredge miners, their mercury clean up and mitigation for 20 years. I personally have been involved for 30 years. It is our opinion and experience that a centrifuge operated with a suction dredge is a very poor method of recovery for gold or mercury. Our opinion is based on the very mechanism of how a centrifuge functions. In order for a centrifuge to work properly it must be de-watered for its effective use. There is no efficient way to control the water for the centrifuge when it is being fed by a suction dredge.

    “NID Director John Drew lauded the idea, noting that it had grown ‘from a whim’ to NID being a leader in the state, if not the nation,” in mercury removal.”
    If this dredge centrifuge is a new idea from Canada, it would appear that the Director, Mr. Drew, is ignorant in his assumption that NID is a leader of mercury recovery.

    Mike Thornton, who helped develop the Sierra Fund's educative Mining Toxic Legacy Initiative, and his organization strongly support NID's Combie Plan. “It really is cutting edge and certainly could act as a role model for other water systems,” Thornton said. “We know the mercury's there, and it needs to be cleaned up if for no other reason for NID's capacity” at the reservoir. It would seem that since the money is not coming out of Mr. Thornton’s pocket, that he would, of course, be in favor of spending $9 million dollars on a program that the only real benefit would be to expand the NID storage capacity. While removing silts to increase storage capacity may be important, PLP believes it can be done for far less than $9 Million.

    It has also been stated by the NID General Manager, Ron Nelson, that NID is requesting $7.8 million over three years to fund the bulk of the $9 million required to fund the NID project. As reported: “District officials are asking Senator Dianne Feinstein to support an appropriation of $7.8 million over three years to fund the bulk of the $9 million project. The request was under review Friday, according to Gil Duran of Feinstein's Washington, D.C., office.”

    “The project costs far exceed the financial capability of the district,” General Manager Ron Nelson said in a letter he recently sent to Feinstein. “Federal funding is appropriate, as widespread mercury contamination was the result of uncontrolled hydraulic mining in the late 1800s.”

    By his statement, it is evident that General Manger Ron Nelson is not fully informed on how mercury finds its way into our waterways. Other contaminants such as pesticides, preservatives, volcanic action and burning coal deposit massive amounts of mercury into our waterways on a daily basis that far exceeds the mercury deposited by hydraulic mining.

    Doctor Carrie Monohan, project scientist, gets into the picture supporting NID’s” new found” method of recovering mercury. “No one else is using NID's process, according to project consulting scientist Dr. Carrie Monohan. The project “is a unique application of cutting-edge science and engineering to address a century-old problem,” Monohan said.”

    Dr. Monohan would have been well advised to read a test report from the California State Water Resources Control Board (Rick Humphreys) that addressed the effects and methods of recovering mercury from a suction dredge. While Humphreys used an old style suction dredge, his test report collected 98% of the mercury that went through the system. A newer model suction dredge with a better recovery system and a flare to slow the water, could recover 98% or more of the mercury that goes through the system.

    Mr. Humphreys was able to entrap the dredged material that flowed over the end of the suction dredge sluice box. In doing so, he was able to determine that only 2% of the mercury was not recovered by the suction dredge. Humphreys determined that the 2% of the mercury that was not recovered by the suction dredge was very fine and floured and that the suction dredge was responsible for the flouring of the mercury.
    “NID had Canadian firm Pegasus Earth Sensing Corp. demonstrate the system last fall and managed to extract six grams of mercury per ton of sediment dredged from the bottom of the reservoir. NID routinely dredges the reservoir to extract silt and keep water capacity as high as possible for customers.”

    The fact that Pegasus Earth recovered six grams of mercury from one ton of sediment does not prove what the recovery percentage was. There was no way for Pegasus, NID or Dr. Monohan to assess how many grams of mercury were actually in the sample ton dredged. And they did not test for a loss of mercury from the centrifuge. Could there have been a 25% mercury loss?

    The question remains that even Humphreys caught the sediment coming out of the suction dredge and discovered that the dredge lost 2% of the mercury. This is only one question that should be answered before any grant money is awarded to NID or anyone else for mercury reclamation. (What is the one question?)


    Mercury is categorized as a locatable mineral, just like gold and silver. Consequently, recovery of mercury is a mining operation and not a reclamation project.

    If this mining operation is allowed to commence, it will be in violation of California SB670 – Anti Suction Dredge Mining Bill introduced by Senator Wiggens and approved and signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger on and effective August 6, 2009. This law is in effect until the California Department of Fish and Game completes an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and promulgates new suction dredge mining regulations. Completion is expected late summer of 2011.

    SB670 prohibits any use of any vacuum or suction dredge equipment within 100’ of any river, stream or lake for instream mining purposes. Specifically, “This bill would designate the issuance of permits to operate vacuum or suction dredge equipment to be a project under CEQA, and would suspend the issuance of permits, and mining pursuant to a permit, until the department has completed an environmental impact report for the project as ordered by the court in a specified court action. The bill would prohibit the use of any vacuum or suction dredge equipment in any river, stream, or lake, for instream mining purposes, until the director of the department certifies to the Secretary of State that (1) the department has completed the environmental review of its existing vacuum or suction dredge equipment regulations as ordered by the court, (2) the department has transmitted for filing with the Secretary of State a certified copy of new regulations, as necessary, and (3) the new regulations are operative.”

    If find it hypocritical that the Sierra Fund and Dr. Carrie Monahan, among others who are strong supporters of SB670, believe suction dredging for gold and mercury by the mining community is deleterious to the environment but that their support of suction dredge mining to remove mercury by the NID is environmentally motivated out of human health concerns. Which is it? The Sierra Fund and other proponents of SB 670 are anti-reclamation orientated. The proof is in the fact that they have supported SB 670 under the guise of not allowing the suction dredge miners to suction dredge the rivers, streams and lakes of California to collect and reclaim the mercury that lays in the gravels and silts. What Hypocrisy!


    PLP believes that the $7.8 million grant should be rejected as the project is misguided, inefficient and illegal.

    • A modern day suction dredge is more capable of recovering mercury from our waterways (98% per Humphrey’s study) than a centrifuge.
    • Research backing this funding proposal is questionable.
    • The withdrawal of mercury from California waterways is in violation of SB670.

    For the Senator’s convenience, PLP has attached documents referred to in this letter.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    Gerald Hobbs
    President of PLP

    cc: Mark Stopher, Ca. Dept of Fish and Game.
    State Senator, Sam Anastad
    Ray Nutting, Eldorado County Supervisor
    David Young, Esq.
    And others

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