California Dredging Moratorium
Judge Ochoa has awarded California suction dredgers a huge win!
“The ongoing dredging moratorium prompted multiple lawsuits which were ultimately consolidated in front of Judge Ochoa in the San Bernardino Superior Court. After many years of ongoing litigation, Judge Ochoa awarded California suction dredgers a huge win on January 12th 2015 by declaring California’s “scheme” of first passing a law that requires suction dredgers to obtain a permit, and then passing another law making permits unavailable, as an unlawful and un-enforceable interference with the intention of congress. This is truly a great win for all gold miners” — New 49’ers Legal Fund
There is a hearing scheduled before Judge Ochoa in San Bernardino in late June 2015 to seek injunctive relief for DFW’s enforcement of the illegal moratorium.
Important Note: On July 26, 2011 Governor Brown of California signed Assembly Bill 120, the Natural Resources Trailer bill to the 2011 budget. While Governor Brown has allowed the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to continue in their efforts to finish the court-ordered environmental impact report (EIR) that was due to be finished November 2011, AB 120 has placed additional requirements upon the process which has postponed completion.
Specifically, AB 120 placed a moratorium on suction dredge mining for five years unless the DFW can mitigate every significant environmental impact that results from suction dredging. This requirement greatly surpasses the normal requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and there is no direction on how DFW is supposed to achieve this goal. It also forces a new fee structure to cover all costs of the program, something that only the legislature can decide at some later time.
Just in case you didn’t know, this new law only stops suction dredging within California’s active waterways. It does not have anything to do with the other types of prospecting or mining that is done in California. Unaffected prospecting activities include panning, sniping & vack-mining, sluicing & high-banking, booming, electronic prospecting and other types of prospecting that do not use a suction nozzle within an active stream, river or creek. There are no seasons imposed upon these other types of mining activity. In other words, you can do them at any time of the year.