Tuesday, May 17, 2011

California—public loses with suction dredge mining

In California, lawmakers have moved to block funding for suction dredge mining permits. As Catherine Freeman, consultant for the legislative panel, put it:
If you suction dredge and you take out a fish breeding ground, well, you've probably gained some money, but the public has lost and the public trust has lost.
According to this Oregon Public Broadcasting article, Freeman says,
[I]t's expensive for the state to ensure that mining is in compliance with environmental standards ... issuing and enforcing permits would cost the state $2 million.
The same article quotes Lesley Adams of Rogue Riverkeeper, a group that has sued the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality over its lack of oversight:
DEQ has no requirement that miners report on their mining activities.  So we have no idea when and where and how often these miners are mining in our creeks that have salmon in them.
Ironically, the USDA Forest Service has no idea either. So in Oregon it's almost a free-for-all for miners who extract gold from the public's lands and waters for free. [1]