Legislative Hearings on Mining Scheduled for Tuesday, March 4

Hearings on Public Land and Water Contamination Issues related to Historic Gold Mining in California scheduled for Tuesday, March 4

The California State Assembly has scheduled hearings to examine the long term impact of the Gold Rush on public lands and waters of the state, to be held on Tuesday, March 4, 2008 in Room 4202 at 9:00am.  This joint hearing is convened by three Committees of the Assembly, including the Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee, Chair Assemblywoman Lois Wolk; Natural Resources Committee, Chair Assemblywoman Loni Hancock; and the Environmental Safety & Toxic Materials Committee, Chair Assemblyman Jared Huffman.  All three committees hold lead jurisdiction over some aspect of this issue ranging from park funding to water board regulations and mapping efforts.

This will be the first hearing on the long term impacts of the Gold Rush on public lands ever held by the California State Assembly.  The Gold Rush, which began in 1848 after the discovery of gold near Placerville, brought millions of people to California to seek their fortunes.  Even after 150 years, the environmental impacts of historic mining techniques—such as hydraulic mining which blew down the sides of mountains, or hard rock mines that dug hundreds of miles of tunnel through rock—are only beginning to be measured and understood.  This hearing will focus particularly on the impacts of mining on public lands and waters of the state.

Speakers at the hearing will include Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin presenting the results of The Sierra Fund’s new report Mining’s Toxic Legacy: An Initiative to Address Mining Toxins in the Sierra.  After the hearing the report will be available for public release.  Also speaking will be Don Ryberg, Chair of the Tsi-akim Maidu Tribe of Nevada City, the tribe that was at “ground zero” of the Gold Rush,  as well as government scientists from  federal, state and local agencies.

For more information, contact Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin at The Sierra Fund,

(530) 265-8454 x11 or izzy.martin@sierrafund.org