A new bill to provide relief to California small miners…….SB1222

For a quick video explanation of Senate bill 1222, click below, then keep reading

Senate Bill 1222 (SB1222), a California Bill on Small Scale Mining
BACKGROUND:
In 2015 SB637 was introduced, passed, and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. The
law took effect January 1, 2016 and was labeled the “suction dredge” bill and defined a
suction dredge as:
“mechanized or motorized system of removing or assisting in the removal of minerals”

For a link to the text of SB637, click HERE

The intent of SB637 was specifically for suction dredging and was called “The Suction Dredge
Bill”. The intent of the bill was not to be all inclusive of anything mechanized but instead to
ensure that all forms of suction dredging that were harmful to the environment were caught
within the net of this language. SB637 requires a permit from the California Water Board and
a permit from the Department of Fish and Wildlife to suction dredge under this definition.
Subsequent to its passage, the language that was added by SB 637, which redefined what a
suction dredge is, also included any form of small scale mining which is mechanized and is
considered “low impact mining”. This language was also added to the enforcement aspect of
DFW (Department of Fish and Wildlife) 5653 regulations. This has inadvertently caused
many types of deminimus (not harmful to the environment) equipment and mining to be
labeled as suction dredging and rendered it illegal to use in California. Equipment such as a
small water pump which fits in the palm of your hand, a dry washer which is used in the
desert without water and even a post hole digger which can dig a hole.

FINAL LANGUAGE OF SB637:
Defines for the first time by statute what it means to use vacuum or suction dredge
equipment, otherwise known as suction dredging, as the use of a mechanized or
motorized system for removing or assisting in the removal of, or the processing of,
material from the bed, bank, or channel of a river, stream, or lake in order to recover
minerals; but also clarifying the definition does not apply to, prohibit, or otherwise
restrict nonmotorized recreational mining activities, including panning for gold.
There have even been discussions on whether an electric car could be construed as being a
mechanized aide in small mining, and therefore be illegal if driven to within 100 feet of a river,
stream or lake and would be considered a suction dredge under this vague, inadvertent
language.

SB1222 DEFINES A SUCTION DREDGE:
SB1222 Defines what a suction dredge is and does not change the requirement under SB637
to obtain a suction dredge permit from the California Water Board if/once they become
available.

ECONOMIC IMPACTS:
Many businesses located along the Motherlode of CA benefit from small scale miners,
prospectors and folks looking to get out in our public lands and find a little gold. Businesses
such as gas stations, grocery stores, motels, hardware stores and cafe’s. Many of these
businesses have seen dramatic and adverse reductions in revenue as a result of the change
in language of SB637. Revenue used for college funds, feeding families and paying
mortgages are possible from the money spent in these rural community businesses. Low
income small scale miners who supplement their incomes by small scale mining and some
who derive their sole income from small scale mining are now devastated because the
language in SB637 has become a prohibition on all forms of mechanized mining. According
to the 1994 FEIR conducted on the economic benefits to small scale suction dredging, over
$6000 annually was spent by these miners. Adjusted to inflation, it is closer to $10,000.
$40.00 in gasoline in 1994 now costs $119.00 today. According to a study published by ICMJ
(link) suction dredgers spent over $64,000,000 in the state. Most of the suction dredgers
now use other methods of mining to offset the wait for permits from the California Water
Board as a result of SB637, which include the very small scale methods described above.
We believe the annual amount spent in 2018 is even higher than in 2008. There are nearly
25,000 active mining claims in California with roughly 2.5 claim owners per claim. This does
not include mining claims which are owned by clubs with members numbering into the
hundreds. The result of this vague language affects over 100,000 small scale miners in
California. Mining claim owners pay property taxes on most mining claims in the state and
are also recognized as real property. Most of these mining claims are now being rendered
much less in value if all one can do is simply pan for gold to obtain the minerals they own on
these mining claims. Miners are letting their claims go, resulting in lost revenue to the
counties and lost revenue to the state in filing fees for property transactions ($75.00 per claim,
per year).
SB1222 now stands to go before two Senate Committees, the Natural Resources Committee
and the Environmental Quality Committee. These committees will have open hearings (to be
scheduled) soon. We urge you to contact the Senators of each of these committees and tell
them to vote FOR SB1222 and the clarifying of the vague and adverse language created by
SB637. Also, SB1222 is seeking the support of local counties, raising enough voices of local
governments that know the value of gold mining in California helps the State Government see
the size of the problem at hand with the current vague language. A simple phone call, an
email or a letter will allow your voice to be heard. PLEASE attend your COUNTY
SUPERVISORS MEETINGS, ask for them to support SB1222 and write letters of support to
Senator Stone’s office. The future of small scale mining in California hinges on you contacting
these Senators today.

California Senate Committee on Environmental Quality:

Chairman Bob Wieckowski

Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 4085
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone:(916) 651-4010
Fax: (916) 651-4910

To email, click HERE

Vice Chair Jeff Stone

Capitol Office

State Capitol, Room 4062
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4028
Fax: (916) 651-4928

To email, click HERE

Ted Gaines

Capitol Office

State Capitol, Room 3076
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4001
Fax: (916) 651-4901

To email, click HERE

Jerry Hill

Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 5035
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4013
Fax: (916) 651-4913

To email, click HERE

Ricardo Lara

Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 5050
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4033

To email, click HERE

Nancy Skinner

Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 2059
Sacramento,  CA  95814
Phone:  (916) 651-4009
Fax:  (916) 327-1997

To email, click HERE

Henry I. Stern

Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 3070
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4027
Fax: (916) 651-4927

To email, click HERE

 

California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water:

 

Chairman Robert M. Hertzberg

Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 4038
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone:  (916) 651-4018
Fax:  (916) 651-4918

To email, click HERE

Vice Chair Jeff Stone

Capitol Office

State Capitol, Room 4062
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4028
Fax: (916) 651-4928

To email, click HERE

Benjamin Allen

Capitol Office
State Capitol Room  5072
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4026
Fax: (916) 651-4926

To email, click HERE

Ben Hueso

Capitol Office:
State Capitol, Room 4035
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4040
Fax: (916) 651-4940

To email, click HERE

Hannah-Beth Jackson

Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 2032
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4019

To email, click HERE

Mike McGuire

State Capitol
1303 10th Street, Room 5061
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-651-4002
Fax: 916-651-4902

To email, click HERE

Bill Monning

Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 313
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4017

Fax: (916) 651-4917

To email, click HERE

Henry Stern

Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 3070
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4027
Fax: (916) 651-4927

To email, click HERE

Andy Vidak

Capitol Office

State Capitol, Room 3082
Sacramento, CA 95814-4900
Phone: (916) 651-4014
Fax: (916) 651-4914

To email, click HERE

 

County District Supervisors:

Alpine County

PO Box 158, Markleeville, CA 96120

Phone:  (530) 694-2281

Fax: (530) 694-2491

Donald M Jardine – District 1

(530) 694-2209         To email, click HERE

Ron Hames   – District 2

(530) 694-2196         To email, click HERE

Katherine Rakow – District 3

(530) 694-2480         To email, click HERE

Terry Woodrow – District 4

(209) 753-2551        To email, click HERE

David Griffith – District 5

(530) 694-2168         To email, click HERE

Amador County 

810 Court St, Jackson, CA 95642

Phone: (209) 223-6470

Fax:  (209) 257-0619

Patrick Crew –  District 1

To email, click HERE

Richard Foster –District 2

To email, click HERE

Lynn A. Morgan – District 3

To email, click HERE

Frank Axe – District 4

To email, click HERE

Brian Oneto – District 5

To email, click HERE

Calaveras County

891 Mountain Ranch Road, San Andreas, CA 95249

Phone: (209) 754-6370

Fax: (209) 754-6733

Gary Tofanelli – District 1

(209) 286-9002         To email, click HERE

Jack Garamendi – District 2

(209) 286-9003         To email, click HERE

Michael C. Oliveira- District 3

(209) 286-9007          To email, click HERE

Dennis Mills – District 4

(209) 286-9050          To email, click HERE

Clyde Clapp – District 5

(209) 286-9059          To email, click HERE

El Dorado County

330 Fair Lane, Placerville, CA 95667

Toll Free: 1-(800) 491-6642

Fax:  (530) 622-3645

John Hidahl -District 1

To email, click HERE

Shiva Frentzen – District 2

To email, click HERE

Brian Veerkamp – District 3

To email, click HERE

Michael Ranalli – District 4

To email, click HERE

Sue Novasel – District 5

To email, click HERE

Fresno County

2281 Tulare, Room #301, Fresno, CA 93721

Brian Pacheco – District 1

(559) 600-1000              To email, click HERE

Andreas Borgeas -District 2

(559) 600-2000              To email, click HERE

Sal Quintero- District 3

(559) 600-3000              To email, click HERE

Ernest Buddy Mendes – District 4

(559) 600-4000               To email, click HERE

Nathan Magsig –  District 5

(559) 600-5000               To email, click HERE

Inyo County

PO Box N, Independence, CA 93526

(760) 878-0373

Dan Totheroh – District 1

Office: (760) 873-8501     To email, click HERE

Cell: (760) 937-3368

Jeff Griffiths – District 2

(760) 937-0072                  To email. click HERE

Rick Pucci – District 3

(760) 878-0373                  To email, click HERE

(760) 872-0917

Mark Tillemans – District 4

Office: (760) 938-2024      To email, click HERE

Cell:  (760) 878-8506

Matt Kingsley – District 5

(760) 878-8508                   To email, click HERE

Madera County

200 West 4th Street, Madera, CA 93637

Phone: (559)675-7700

Fax: (559)673-3302

Brett Frazier – District 1

(559)675-7700

David Rogers –  District 2

(559)675-7700

Robert Pythress – District 3

(559)675-7700

Max Rodriguez – District 4

(559)675-7700

Tom Wheeler –  District 5

(559) 662-6050             To email, click HERE

Mariposa County

P.O. Box 784, Mariposa, CA  95338

Phone: (209) 966-3222

Fax: (209) 966-5147

Rosemarie Smallcombe – District 1

(209) 966-3222                       To email. click HERE

Merlin Jones – District 2

(209) 878-3158                       To email, click HERE

Marshall Long – District 3

(209) 966-3222                       To email, click HERE

Kevin Cann – District 4

(209) 966-3222                       To email, click HERE

Miles Menetrey -District 5

(209) 966-3222                        To email. click HERE

Mono County

PO Box 715, Bridgeport, CA 93517

Larry Johnson – District 1

(760) 924-1806              To email, click HERE

(760) 914-0826

Fred Stump – District 2

(760) 924-1783               To email, click HERE

(760) 914-1294

Bob Gardner – District 3

(909) 325-0999               To email, click HERE

John Peters – District 4

(760) 932-5532               To email, click HERE

(775) 671-7126

Stacy Corless – District 5

(760) 932-5533                To email, click HERE

(760) 920-0190

Nevada County

950 Maidu Avenue, Nevada City, CA 95959

Heidi Hall – District 1

(530) 265-1480                        To email, click HERE

Ed Scofield – District 2

(530) 277-1451                        To email, click HERE

Dan Miller –  District 3

(530) 265-1480                        To email, click HERE

Hank Weston – District 4

(530) 432-8505                        To email, click HERE

Richard Anderson – District 5

(530) 582-7826                        To email, click HERE

 

Plumas County

520 Main Street, Room 309, Quincy, CA  95971

Phone: (530) 283-6170

Fax: (530) 283-6288

Michael Sanchez – District 1

(530) 283-6170                 To email, click HERE

Kevin Goss – District 2

(530) 283-6170                 To email, click HERE

Sharon Thrall – District 3

(530) 283-6170                 To email, click HERE

Lori Simpson – District 4

(530) 283-6170                 To email, click HERE

Jeff Engel – District 5

(530) 283-6170                 To email, click HERE

Riverside County

4080 Lemon Street, 5th Floor,

Riverside, California 92501

(951) 955-1010

Kevin Jeffries -District 1

(951) 955-1010                       To email, click HERE

John F Tavaglione – District 2

(951) 955-1020                       To email, click HERE

Chuck Washington – District 3

(951) 955-1030                       To email, click HERE

Manuel Perez – District 4

(951) 955-1040                        To email, click HERE

(760) 921-5070

(760) 863-8211

Marion Ashley – District 5

(951) 955-1050                        To email, click HERE

San Luis Obispo County

Monterey Street D430, San Luis Obispo, CA 93408

(805) 781-5450

John Peschong – District 1

(805) 781-4491                   To email, click HERE

Bruce Gibson – District 2

(805) 781-4338                   To email, click HERE

Adam Hill – District 3

(805) 781-4336                   To email, click HERE

Lynn Compton – District 4

(805) 781-4337                   To email, click HERE

Debbie Arnold – District 5

(805) 781-4339                    To email, click HERE

San Bernardino County

385 N. Arrowhead Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92415

(909) 387-3841

Robert A Lovingood – District 1

(909) 387-4830                   To email, click HERE

(760) 995-8100

Janice Rutherford – District 2

(909) 387-4833                        To email, click HERE

James Ramos – District 3

(909) 387-4855                        To email, click HERE

Curt Hagman – District 4

(909) 387-4866                        To email, click HERE

Josie Gonzales – District 5

(909) 387-4565                        To email, click HERE

Sierra County

P.O. Drawer D, Downieville, CA 95936

Phone: (530) 289-3295

Fax: (530) 289-2830

Lee Adams – District 1

(530) 289-3506                    To email, click HERE

Peter W. Huebner – District 2

(530) 862-1005                    To email, click HERE

(530) 565-6055

Paul Roen – District 3

(209) 479-2770                     To email, click HERE

(530) 565-6048

Jim Beard – District 4

(530) 993-4732                     To email, click HERE

(530) 565-6092

Scott A Schlefstein – District 5

(530) 993-4900                      To email, click HERE

(530) 913-9218

 

Tulare County

2800 West Burrel Avenue, Visalia, CA 93291

Phone: (559) 636-5000

Fax:  (559) 733-6898

Kuyler Crocker – District 1

(559) 636-5000                         To email, click HERE

Pete Vander Poel III – District 2

(559) 636-5000                         To email, click HERE

Amy Shuklian – District 3

(559) 636-5000                         To email, click HERE

Steve Worthley – District 4

(559) 636-5000                         To email, click HERE

Mike Ennis – District 5

(559) 636-5000                         To email, click HERE

Tuolumne County

2 S. Green St., Sonora, CA 95370

Phone: 209-533-5521

Fax: 209-533-6549

Sherri Brennan – District 1

(209) 553-5521                     To email, click HERE

Randy Hanvelt – District 2

(209) 553-5521                     To email, click HERE

Evan Royce – District 3

(209) 553-5521                     To email, click HERE

John L Gray – District 4

(209) 553-5521                     To email, click HERE

Karl Rodefer – District 5

(209) 553-5521                     To email, click HERE

 
1 Comment
  1. Light the phones up people, this is important!

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