El Dorado County Sheriff-Coroner Supports Property Rights of Miners
Dear Mr. Hobbs,
The purpose of this letter is to support your efforts to preserve the constitutional, historical and property rights of miners and to provide you with my perspective on the impact that mining and suction dredging restrictions have on the public health and safety in El Dorado County. As you are aware, miners have contributed to the rich and enduring legacy of El Dorado County. It was, after all, the gold rush of 1849, spurred by the discovery of gold in Coloma, El Dorado County that began the rich and prosperous path to California’s statehood. Obviously, miners contributed to the development and economic vitality of our state and many of our local communities.
I am alarmed at recent attacks against the mining industry in El Dorado County and other parts of the state. The studies and science relied upon to support the suction dredging ban in California is flawed at best. All are smattered with statements that suction dredging “may”, “might”, “could”, “is possible”, regarding harm to the environment.
This is not reliable science when other studies in support of suction dredge mining give specific facts that document proof that suction dredge mining cleans rivers and streams of mercury, lead, trash and other harmful substances and actually improves wildlife habitat.
I am also concerned about the constitutionality and legality of the tactics and strategies used to enact and enforce the laws that deny miners their rights to earn a living for themselves and their families. I have observed a consistent imbalance between laws implemented to protect the natural environment and those that impact people. This includes the unreasonable regulations imposed upon the miners of El Dorado County.
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office derives most of its revenue for field operations (deputies, management, detectives, professional staff, public safety dispatchers, specialized units, etc.) and jail staff (correctional officers, management, court bailiffs, etc,) from general fund tax dollars. The majority of these tax dollars come from property and sales taxes paid by citizens of El Dorado County.
Regulatory provisions have increased unemployment, reduced the miner’s ability to survive, have eliminated precious tax revenues, threaten businesses, and jeopardize the constitutional rights of our miners. My responsibility to provide law enforcement services to the people of the county is jeopardized by any regulatory enforcement program that reduces our tax base.
I see no evidence that proper coordination and “consistency” has been initiated or achieved pursuant to federal and state law. The implementation of unreasonable environmental policies at the expense of people and jobs adversely impacts wages and tax revenues. Due to the economic decline of traditionally vibrant activities such as mining, El Dorado County has been impacted.
I support our miners and their Constitutional rights. The decline of the mining industry, along with other vital vocations such as timber, farming and ranching is having a negative impact on our economy, traditions, heritages and public health and safety.
Should you have any questions, please contact me at (530) 621-6576
Sheriff ~ Coroner
cc: Assemblywoman Beth Gaines
Senator Ted Gaines
El Dorado County Board of Supervisors
March 14, 2012
Public Lands for the People
President Jerry Hobbs
3700 Santa Carlotta St
La Crescenta, CA 91214-1048