El Dorado County supervisors target suction dredge mining ban
Opposition to the State of California’s ban on suction dredge mining was reaffirmed by the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors in a letter drafted by District 2 Supervisor Ray Nutting.
The letter to the lead attorney in litigation to overturn the prohibition said the supervisors estimated an annual $6.3 million loss to the county because of the state’s action.
Nutting said the projected loss “doesn’t come from the county’s coffers. It’s trade and commerce in El Dorado County.”
Banning suction dredging is important to El Dorado Hills because the town promotes the rural, historic and cultural aspects of the county. “The wide-open spaces and the rivers for recreational opportunities, to have fun and play gold seeker,” the supervisor said.
“There are gold seekers who live all over the county who gold pan and suction dredge,” he added. “It’s a really fun thing to do and it’s not environmentally damaging. For many, it’s one of the reasons they moved up here.”
Nutting also said that if such historic values are taken out of the county’s history, “it would make this a pretty boring place to live.”
In the letter he authored, Nutting charged the legislature “has killed an historic and environmentally friendly way to earn a living with little regard for the consequences.”
Besides removing river-bottom trash, studies have concluded that suction dredging removes at least 98 percent of the mercury contamination processed through the dredge.
The state ...