On December 12th the Western Mining Alliance received the final report on the Department of Interior’s investigation into the activities of Dr. Charles Alpers of the US Geological Survey. In response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filed by the WMA, and a follow on request for an official investigation the Department of Interior published the results of their investigation. Dr. Charles Alpers, of the US Geological Survey (USGS) was the lead mercury researcher for the water quality section of the 2011 Suction Dredging Environmental Impact Report (EIR). He was responsible for collecting the data, and preparing the analysis for the California Suction Dredging Environmental Impact Report which concluded suction dredges were linked to high methylmercury levels in wildlife. He further stated there was only one year of testing data to rely on. In 2013 the WMA submitted a FOIA requesting all data related to sampling of mercury on the South Yuba River, the same location the suction dredge study took place. The information we received proved over five years of data existed from research funded by the Bureau of Land Management, and conducted by – Dr. Charles Alpers. When we evaluated all of the data we found there was natural variability from year to year in mercury levels in wildlife, and the levels of mercury in insects appeared to be directly linked to the size of the spring flood. When we viewed all of the data there was no linkage between mercury levels and dredging activity which was in direct contradiction to Dr. Alpers’ findings. The WMA submitted a request for an official investigation alleging scientific misconduct over the withholding of the data set. We met with the Department of Interior in June and discussed our concerns. Last week the Department of Interior provided us with their report and it provides some stunning revelations. The lead mercury researcher on the suction dredging EIR was also a donor and member of The Sierra Fund. The Sierra Fund is the organization which claims responsibility for developing the legislation which banned suction dredging. They have publically admitted they are opposed to suction dredging and they claimed credit for writing the legislation which resulted in SB 670, the initial dredging ban.