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June 30 2011 Press Release

SACRAMENTO Senator Ted Gaines (R-Roseville) today recognized a victory for California's gold miners in Governor Brown's budget.

"I want to thank Governor Brown for upholding the law and protecting the rights of thousands of California miners," said Gaines. "His decision is fair and supports the spirited and entrepreneurial group who still chase California's gold."

Governor Brown eliminated budget language that would have stripped funding from the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), making it impossible for the Department to complete a court-mandated study on the effects of "suction dredge" mining. Without the study, suction dredge mining would have effectively been banned in the state.

"The Governor saw through the budget trick that was going to kill off this industry and didn't stand for it," said Gaines.

There is currently a moratorium on suction dredge mining in California. With the funding now in place, DFG can complete the required study and potentially implement new regulations that will end the moratorium, protect the environment and get the miners back in the water.

But gold mining isn't completely out of the woods yet. Another potential roadblock the miners may face is Assembly Bill 120, currently making its way to the Governor. This bill would add unattainable new requirements to the DFG's California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process now underway. If those requirements aren't met, it imposes a five-year ban on suction dredge mining, regardless of the funding mechanism that is now in place.

"This is a day to celebrate for the miners, but we want to see this through to the end. We will be monitoring AB 120 very closely", said Gaines. "California and gold go hand-in-hand and we must honor that rich history of our state."

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento and Sierra counties.

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