Sierra Day in the Capitol

TSF is gearing up for a “Sierra Day in the Capitol” to increase the visibility of the headwaters. Sierra Day will take place Tuesday, February 4, 2020, in Sacramento. The Sierra Fund is sponsoring the event alongside partners at the Sierra Nevada Alliance, Sierra Business Council, and the Sierra Water Work Group. The program includes […]

California Mining Reform Law signed by Governor Brown

Governor Brown signed into law two significant pieces of legislation aimed at improving enforcement of California’s Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA). The Governor signed SB 209 (Pavley) and AB 1142 (Gray), two complementary bills that together represent significant reform to SMARA. SB 209 and AB 1142 together make numerous changes to the state surface mining provisions regarding reclamation plans, financial assurances, annual inspections, and enforcement.

SMARA Reform Bills Advance in Senate and Assembly

Two important new pieces of legislation to improve implementation and enforcement of surface mining in California are poised to be taken up as soon as next week on the floor of the Senate and Assembly, almost the final step before heading to the Governor’s desk for his signature. SB 209 (Pavley) and AB 1142 (Gray) have both moved ahead with support from a diverse set of interested parties including county supervisors, mining industry advocates and conservationists.

Victory on suction dredge mining reform: Governor Brown signs SB 637

California Gov. Jerry Brown today signed into law Senate Bill 637 to protect California’s water supplies, wildlife and cultural resources from the damaging effects of destructive suction dredge gold mining. The new law requires that all small-scale miners using motorized suction pumps obtain a Clean Water Act Permit from the State Water Resources Control Board before mining in California waterways.

SMARA reform bills move forward

On Monday, July 13 the California Assembly Natural Resources Committee voted to approve SB 209 (Pavley), a bill sponsored by The Sierra Fund to strengthen enforcement of SMARA.  On a 7 – 1 bipartisan vote the bill was moved out of the committee and onto the Appropriations Committee, where it will be heard later in […]

SMARA reform bill (SB 209) passes Senate Floor

SB 209 (Pavley), a bill to improve enforcement of California’s Surface Mining and Reclamation Act passed the Senate Floor.

A wide range of organizations have worked to support this bill including TSF, Environmental Working Group, CA League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action, Wolf Creek Community Alliance, CLAIM-GV, Endangered Habitats League, CA Native Plant Society, San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association, and Center for Biological Diversity.

Update on SMARA reform bill (SB 209)

The Sierra Fund continues to track the progress of SB 209 (Pavley), a bill to improve SMARA, which has now passed the Senate Natural Resources Committee and will be heard in Appropriations later this spring. This bill will likely be amended to include the language that is being developed through weekly stakeholder meetings being convened by Governor Brown, which The Sierra Fund has been participating in.

Bill to reform Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SB 209) introduced

Senator Pavley has introduced SB 209, a bill to reform the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA).  The Sierra Fund has worked with Senator Pavley to help identify opportunities to improve consistent enforcement of SMARA, relating to inspections and reclamation. Regulation of mining practices based on their environmental impacts began with the “Sawyer Decision” in […]

TSF supports Proposition 1: Water Bond

At their board meeting on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 the Board of Directors of The Sierra Fund voted unanimously to support the water bond that has been placed by the Legislature and the Governor onto the November 2014 ballot. “The Board took this position because we understand the urgent need for the State to invest in water quality and watershed restoration projects around the state. The water quality situation in some disadvantaged communities has reached a crisis and we must act,” noted Board Chair Tim Seward.

Water Bond (Proposition #1) contains The Sierra Fund’s language to remediate mines, and more

Earlier this month the state legislature passed a water bond, and the Governor signed this new version replacing the old water bond that had been first placed on the ballot in the fall of 2009. The Secretary of State has assigned the bond item the Number 1 for placement on the November 4, 2014 election ballot. Despite the intensity of the advocacy around the bill, The Sierra Fund was successful in catching the attention of decision makers about the very crucial issue of mercury contamination in the state that originates in upstream, legacy mines.

Legislative Update on SB 1270 and 1259

The Sierra Fund is supporting two bills authored by Senator Fran Pavley in the current legislative session, SB 1270 and SB 1259. SB 1270, the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) Reform Act of 2014 was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee without enough votes to muster passage, making the bill essentially dead for the year. SB 1259 Sedimentation Studies has moved to the floor of the Senate after unanimously passing both the Appropriations and Natural Resources Committees. This bill requires the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to gather data to study the loss of storage capacity behind California dams resulting from sedimentation.

The Sierra Fund sponsors new CA Mining Law Reform Bill

California Senator Fran Pavley has introduced the Surface Mining Act Reform of 2014 (SB 1270) with a goal of reforming the California Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) to better serve industry, local governments, state government, and the public. The Sierra Fund, a regional nonprofit based in Nevada City, is sponsoring this bill.