The Sierra Fund is rallying opposition to Senate Bill 1222, introduced in February by Senator Jeff Stone (R-Riverside County), which seeks to change the definition of suction dredge mining equipment as laid out in Senate Bill 637. TSF sponsored Senator Ben Allen’s SB 637, which was signed into law in 2015 and requires all small-scale miners utilizing motorized suction dredges to obtain a Clean Water Act permit from the State Water Resources Control Board.
SB 1222 would relax the protections laid out under SB 637 by redefining suction dredge mining equipment, thereby exempting certain types of mining practices that threaten water quality (such as high banking) from review by the State Water Resources Control Board.
TSF submitted an opposition letter earlier this month to the Chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water, Senator Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and will attend the hearing scheduled before this Committee on Monday, April 16. Partners that have signed on to TSF’s opposition letter to date include the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Environmental Law Foundation and Friends of the River. Numerous additional allies submitted separate opposition letters on behalf of their organizations.