Aanestad Legislation Requests Fairness for Suction Dredge Miners PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 December 2009


SACRAMENTO: Senator Sam Aanestad (R-Grass Valley) has introduced new legislation that provides financial relief for the suction dredge mining industry in California. Senator Aanestad agreed to author SB 233 following the successful passage of legislation earlier this year that placed a permanent ban on the practice of Suction Dredge Mining in California.

Specifically, the Aanestad legislation will allow miners to request a refund of all suction dredge mining permits that were purchased from the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) in 2009. Senator Aanestad says his legislation is a matter of fairness.

“Thousands of miners in California followed the letter of the law by purchasing permits in 2009 that would allow them to practice suction dredge mining,” said Senator Aanestad. “They are not to blame for legislative action earlier this year that essentially pulled the rug out from underneath their industry. They paid for a full year of mining activities. They didn’t get it. They deserve a full refund.”

According to statistics from the DFG website, nearly 4,000 suction dredge mining permits were purchased in 2009. More than 3,000 of the permits were purchased by California residents alone. The cost of a permit for California residents is $47.50, and for out of state miners the permit fee is $186.75. In 2009, the Department collected about $250,000 from miners who were subsequently denied the right to mine.

Senator Aanestad, who led the opposition against the passage of legislation that banned the practice of suction dredge mining, believes a full refund is the least that the State of California can do.

“If I could convince the State Legislature to issue an engraved apology for wiping out an entire industry, believe me, I’d do it,” said Senator Aanestad. “The economic impacts of the ban are already hitting home in my Northern California district. Miners aren’t mining. They’re not renting motel rooms. They’re not renting equipment. They’re not paying taxes or fees that would benefit the state’s bottom line.”

The Aanestad legislation, sponsored by the New 49ers Prospecting Association, Inc., will be heard in committee when the State Legislature reconvenes for regular session in January.

“We very much appreciate the Senator’s efforts on this matter and his enthusiastic and unwavering support for not just our industry but all small business concerns,” said New 49ers General Manager Dave McCracken. “While we don’t agree with the decision to ban suction dredge mining, we are complying with the law. We just feel it’s only fair to refund the fees that thousands of miners paid earlier this year.”




Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 December 2009 )
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