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(a) Each public agency is encouraged to develop and publish thresholds of significance that the agency uses in the determination of the significance of environmental effects. A threshold of significance is an identifiable quantitative, qualitative or performance level of a particular environmental effect, non-compliance with which means the effect will normally be determined to be significant by the agency and compliance with which means the effect normally will be determined to be less than significant.

(B ) Thresholds of significance to be adopted for general use as part of the lead agency’s environmental review process must be adopted by ordinance, resolution, rule, or regulation, and developed through a public review process and be supported by substantial evidence.

Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code. Reference: Sections 21082 and 21083, Public Resources Code.

Seems to me, the CA DF&G better get on developing a THRESHOLD OF SIGNIFICANCE.

Because without one, they have no basis to compare, what is “significant” & what is not................ :olddude:

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Public Scoping Meeting for input on possible changes to DFG's Suction Dredge Program

5:00 p.m.

November 17, 2009

City of West Sacramento Galleria

1110 West Capitol Ave.

West Sacramento, CA 95691

Public Scoping Meeting for input on possible changes to DFG's Suction Dredge Program

5:00 pm

November 18, 2009

Shasta Senior Nutrition Program Center

100 Mercy Oaks Drive

Redding, CA 96003

Public Scoping Meeting for input on possible changes to DFG's Suction Dredge Program

5:00 p.m. November 16, 2009

California Retired Teachers Association Building

3930 E. Saginaw Way

Fresno, CA 93726


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Well, it turns out after an exhaustive search, I cannot seem to find CA DF&G has any statutory authority to regulate WATER QUALITY in California.

I would think the drift of that would have a significant effect on any CEQA study results RE: SB 670. :arrowheadsmiley:

For that matter, I can't find any statutory authority for them to..............

Well, maybe I should keep that one tight to the vest, to call & raise with later. :rolleyes:

............... :olddude:

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5653. (a) The use of any vacuum or suction dredge equipment by any person in any river, stream, or lake of this state is prohibited, except as authorized under a permit issued to that person by the department in compliance with the regulations adopted pursuant to Section 5653.9.

The word “person” would seem to be all inclusive, unless otherwise provided for by statute, and subsequent regulation derived from that statute.

Which, in the case CA DF&G is specifically as follows:

5653.8. For purposes of Sections 5653 and 5653.3, "person" does not include a partnership, corporation, or other type of association.

Valid unpatented placer mining claim owners act in “association” with Federal Mining Law. Accepting that federal “grant” to explore for, find, initiate ownership of, and mine at their own risk, and expense applicable valuable minerals situated on or within federal lands, open to such mineral entry. In fact, any valid unpatented placer mining claim is made in “partnership” with the federal government, under grant provided for within the Federal Mining Laws, 30 U.S.C. § 21-54.

In any instance where more than one person, acting in “association” with another person, or more than one other person, to dredge on a federal unpatented placer mining claim is a “partnership”. Any valid unpatented placer mining claim owned by more than one individual is a form of “partnership“ amongst all co-owners.

In fact, any valid placer claim, with more than 1 locator, or over 20 acres in size, requiring more than one locator is an “association” placer claim, as provided for by both federal, and state law. Furthermore, valid unpatented placer claims may be owned by “corporations“.

Which, is all inclusive, as every valid unpatented placer mining claim in California, is initiated, and held in partnership, and association with governing federal law.

Thus, by California’s own explicit statutory restriction, direct provision, and unambiguous regulation, CA DF&G has no implied, nor express authority to govern, or regulate suction dredge use on valid unpatented placer mining claims, situated on federal public domain lands. Particularly, where partnerships, associations, or corporations dredge on those mining claims. So long as those operators act in full compliance with governing federal law, and regulation. :inocent::rasberry:

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In order for the public and regulatory agencies to have an opportunity to ask questions and submit comments on the scope of the SEIR and regulation amendments, public scoping meetings will be held during the NOP review period. Because the suction dredge permitting program is a “project of statewide, regional, or areawide significance,” the scoping meetings will be conducted on consecutive days in three different locations throughout the State. The scoping meetings will be held in Fresno, Sacramento and Redding to solicit input from the public and interested public agencies regarding the nature and scope of environmental impacts to be addressed in the draft SEIR and regulation amendments.

All three meetings will use the same format, and interested parties may attend one or all meetings. A brief presentation will be made in order to provide an overview of the existing program, the legal background leading to this SEIR, the objectives and range of information to be included in the Program, and the CEQA process generally. Afterwards, an interactive session will follow where Department staff will be available to answer questions and provide information about the Program. Prepared written comments will be accepted during the meetings, as well as during the 30‐day scoping period. Comment forms will also be available at the scoping meetings for those who wish to submit written comments during or at the meeting. Again, written comments may be submitted to the Department at any time during the NOP review period.

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To demonstrate how out of prospective SB 670 & the associated EIR is.

Take a look at the picture above.

I overlaid 8 pictures of permitted open pit mines, against a single suction dredge.

All these permitted mines impart involve unpatented mining claims.

In any 1 single mine shown, you could fit 1 million small scale suction dredges in it, with ease.

All are permissible mining operations.

That is the POWER of the general mining law.

This whole EIR is out of proportion, imbalanced & unfairly biased against suction dredging.

The Initial Study is critically flawed.

Over the next few days, I will point out the bulk of those flaws.

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Well, I just got done with a fairly thorough review of the 114 page INITIAL STUDY.

Out of 114 pages, I printed out 54 pages on which there are 1, or several items to comment on.

Plus, a few more pages CRITICAL GOVERNING law, fact & data this INITIAL STUDY completely ignores.

After reading this, 1 thing I know for sure, given the magnitude of what CA DF&G thinks has significant impact on the environment. California agencies had better be prepared to face a massive barrage of petitions for CEQA studies relating to swimming, rafting, camping, lawn mowers, motorized boating, fishing, all motorized vehicle use, toilet flushing, and about 198,000 other common place things, each & every one of which, by the terms in this EIR, certainly have a deleterious effect on California’s environment.

Some things in this INITIAL STUDY they focus on belong in Ripley's Believe It Or Not book.

Well, what goes around, comes around.

They want to nit-pick, they better expect to get the same shoveled back at them.

This is perfect demonstration of taxpayer funded useless bureaucracy at its finest.

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I sure hope your info is passed along to Jerry Hobbs and that you have printed out a copy of all the posts you've made here on Nuggetshooter forums.

A number of things caught my eye respective to this EIR scoping document. First, being a dredging issue via (SB670), why in the world was everything but the "kitchen sink", hell it's probably there too, thrown into this document to include, panning, slucing, high-banking and you name it!

I don't buy the strenght of the argument of "others" and the direction that DFG is pursuing. This is not about being fair and impartial to the other side, DFG is being a whoss! DFG is NOT taking this EIR as mandated by the court "reletive" to the SINGLE issue of suction dredge mining.

DFG is going "overboard" to include anything beyond the issue of suction dredge mining, and we have to pay for this "scatter brain" approach.....I need to buy a new bottle of Maalox!


BTW, I'm thinking a "line-item-veto" may be the best approach to some of this garbage foisted on the dredging community.

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Hell, I would think, this EIR requires an EIR on itself, by their standards.

Wasting money, time, effort & paper is certainly a “deleterious” on California’s environment. :stupidrb:

Look at the veiw hits this thread has.

There are plenty of peaple watching it.

No doubt, some from the enviro/zeolot side, Indian groups, Seirra fund, CA DFG & CA/AG office.

No doubt, some, possibly many will be present at the up coming meetings. :rasberry:

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Yup, I see the same as well. Kinda funny a saying by George Peppard of the "A" team fame comes to mind here, "I love it when a Plan comes together"! Think about those circumstances from those opposing.


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Initial Study

Suction dredge Permitting Program

Subsequent Environmental Impact Report

November 2009


Because this initial study is fundamentally flawed, a preface is necessary to establish why, how and where those fundamental flaws exist within it. The preface is also necessary to establish the true circumstance, applicable governing law, and facts. So the authors, and those responsible for the complication of this initial study can gain a clear understanding, and rational why it is fundamentally flawed.


This Initial Study (IS) is fundamentally, and egregiously flawed from the beginning to end. In-so-far as the authors, from the onset are either ignorant of, ignore, or intentionally omit principle statutory law, facts, and circumstance directly applicable to the majority of all small scale “suction dredge” gold mining that takes place in California.

This IS in totality is premised on multiple fundamental errors of fact, much of which are to one degree, or another out of context, distorted, lacks proportionality, is disingenuous, biased, or erroneous. This IS takes the position that; suction dredging is often “***recreational***” (5.1); and while suction dredging can take place almost anywhere in California, much of it takes place “***on private lands, or unpatented claims owned by mining clubs***”(5.5.8).

That information is not factual.

Factually, all valid unpatented placer mining claims are real property, in every sense of the word, and taxed as such, in California. When owners of valid unpatented placer mining claims choose to utilize a suction dredge to mine placer gold on their property. That use is not “recreational”. It is premised on prudent investment based expectation to profit, just as any occupation, or small business is.

A valid mining claim provides the claim owner an exclusive possessory interest in the claim, a form of private property that may be sold, transferred, or inherited without infringing the paramount title of the United States. The claim owner has the full legal right to access, explore, develop, utilized riparian water, mine, beneficiate and sell all valuable minerals recovered. Which, certainly includes ownership of the flow of income, and profit derived from these mining endeavors.

Patented mining claims grant the owner complete fee simple title to everything within the property. Valid unpatented mining claims grant the owner, the vested right to use any, or all surface as is necessary to develop, mine, beneficiate ore, including the use of water, and timber for mining purposes. These rights are provided for by nondiscretionary statutory existing federal law. All have been tested to the Supreme Court level, withstanding challenges for well over a century. Applicable governing statutes, law, regulation and citations are attached as an addendum.

Presently, there are about twenty four thousand, eight hundred (28,800) registered active unpatented mining claims of record throughout California. Of those there are about ten thousand, five hundred (10,500) registered active unpatented “placer” claims. Suction dredging takes place on both unpatented lode & placer claims, where lode claims also contain auriferous gravels in streams or river within them. There are thousands of patented (fee simple) mining claims throughout California.

The vast majority of all suction dredging in California takes place on, and within unpatented mining claims. The bulk of the remainder takes place on patented (fee simple) mining claims. Only a miniscule percentage of suction dredging takes place on other fee simple types of private property. Mining clubs own only a tiny fraction of all existing unpatented mining claims of record in California. Consequently while mining clubs receive both notoriety, and publicity, the majority of suction dredging in California takes place on unpatented placer claims owned by individuals.

All unpatented mining claims are situated on federal public domain lands, otherwise none would exist, as applicable federal land is the only place they may be initiated, held and worked. All are stringently regulated by applicable federal statutes, policy directives, and regulation’s respectively found at 36 CFR 228, Et. Seq., & 43 CFR 3809, Et., Seq.

Under that federal authority, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) completely regulate every possible aspect of notice, access, permitting, occupancy, bonding, mining, and reclamation on all unpatented mining claim use nation wide. Explicit federal policy directly encourages mining on public domain lands. USFS & BLM are fully cognizant that private citizens have a statutory right, not a mere privilege to enter applicable federal public domain lands to explore for, locate, claim, develop, extract, and beneficiate pertinent valuable minerals so situated.

The standard of mining impacts provided for by federal regulation is to minimize all unnecessary or undue degradation. In doing so, the federal government fully recognizes that common sense, practicality, and reality mandates some degree of environmental degradation will occur in mining on public domain lands. Just as some degree of environmental degradation occurs in every other aspect of all land use practice nation wide. Otherwise, the modern infrastructure of all American civilization could not exist, nor sustain itself, as it historically has.

Certainly, the state of California is free to reasonably regulate all mining, including suction dredging within its boundaries. However, state agencies must rationally recognize the realities involved in such use of federal lands situated with California. That reality is, some degradation will occur, otherwise, for all practical purposes all mining would be impossible. State regulations must recognize that fact. Then, implement reasonable, practical regulation to minimize all unnecessary, or undue degradation to the environment, just as the federal government has.

If a state agency is unable, fails to, or ignores “reality”, they clearly lack a basis of sound judgment to formulate practical, suitable, and fair regulation of anything. As resulting regulations could, and likely would be impractical, leading to confusion, consternation, and protracted costly litigation to clarify such arbitrary, or capricious regulation. None of which is in the regulating agency, or publics best interest.

Furthermore, the state here, either is not cognizant of, or intentionally ignores several unequivocal constraints it is bound by. Article VI, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution provides that the "… Constitution, and the Laws of the United States … shall be the supreme Law of the Land."

Explicitly, the State of California was admitted into the Union upon the express condition that the people of said State, through their legislature or otherwise, shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the public lands within its limits, and shall pass no law and do no act whereby the title of the United States to, and right to dispose of, the same shall be impaired or questioned.

Forty five percent (45%) of California is federal public domain. All unpatented mining claims are situated on those lands. The vast majority of all suction dredging takes place on those same lands. Most certainly the General Mining Law (30 USC 21-54), is both a statutory public domain land, and mineral disposal law. As such, the state of California is clearly barred from interfering, impairing, or even questioning federal public domain land, and mineral (contained therein) disposal laws.

Again, certainly, the state of California can reasonably regulate mining. But such state regulation cannot conflict with, impair, abridge, or arbitrarily prohibit mining on federal public domain lands. The federal government established the General Mining Laws, pertaining to federal public domain. One cannot assert the General Mining Laws do not fully occupy the field, when in fact federal law established it. Thus, any state law in direct conflict with federal mining law is preempted.

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, made applicable to state and local governments by the Fourteenth Amendment, prohibits the government from taking private property for public use without just compensation. The California Constitution provides, "Private property may be taken or damaged for public use only when just compensation ... has first been paid to, or into court for, the owner." (Cal. Const., art. I, § 19.)

Today, suction dredge gold mining is the only practical productive mechanized means by which any ordinary citizen can profitably recover small scale placer gold deposits. Which are situated in gravels within California waterways traversing though unpatented placers mining claims, initiated, and held for that purpose.

Consequently, any arbitrary state regulation prohibiting suction dredge mining within unpatented mining claims constitutes an unlawful compensable “taking” of every possible economic benefit a mining claim proprietor owns. For, he owns nothing else, but the right to mine what is his, within his private property



Individual Page By Page, and Section Number Comments;

With a rational of each, and, where applicable including governing statutory, regulatory, or case law citation.


................. :olddude:

EDIT TO ADD.... I decided to "polish" this a little more.

Rather than delete this, I will leave it standing.

Expect a more polished version soon

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Just me venting............ :olddude:

What becomes plain to anyone knowledgeable in the area of federal lands, and mining law, in reading, and trying to respond to this initial study report.

Is that DFG themselves & the company that they contracted to compile, and perform the EIR, lack a basic understanding of fundamental law, and facts governing federal public domain & mining on it.


The vast majority of all suction dredge gold mining in California takes place on federal public domain lands.


The vast majority of those same federal lands, are open to mineral entry under federal mining laws & where gold exists are held under mining claims.


Mining on federal lands, is encouraged by federal policy directive & governed by federal law & regulation.


Once a valid mining claim is established, it grants the owner various protected private property rights.

FACT 5. State law, and regulation cannot prohibit what federal law encourages, and allows.

What we have here is a state agency who’s primary responsibility is to regulate California’s fish & game as follows:

CA F&G CODE Section 200

200. There is hereby delegated to the commission the power to regulate the taking or possession of birds, mammals, fish, amphibia, and reptiles to the extent and in the manner prescribed in this article.

201. Nothing in this article confers upon the commission any power to regulate any natural resources or commercial or other activity connected therewith, except as specifically provided.

For reasons only the California legislature can explain, they allocated CA DF&G authority to regulate the issuance of small scale suction dredge mining permits.

CA DF&G Section 201 provisions creates a conundrum, because valuable minerals are a “natural resource”, and mining is both “commercial” & “activity“ connected to it.

Regardless of the obvious conflict there, because the California legislature specifically provided CA DF&G with authority to regulate the issuance of mining permits, the public, and mining claim owners in California are forced to comply with it.

In the last decade approximately 3,200 suction dredge mining permits were issued in California by CA DF&G annually, under existing regulations that were comprehensive, relatively fair, and workable by all involved.

In the interim, a series of law suits were brought, primarily instigated by the Karuk indian tribe of California to protect what they assert to be their indigenous salmon fishery. Ignoring the fact, they have no reservation, nor protected fishing rights, over that of any other California citizen.

In one litigation, a state court ordered a CEQA study for the Klamath, Scott & Salmon rivers. In another, the state court ordered CA DF&G to halt the issuance of suction dredge permits, until CA DF&G complied with a mix of the two court orders. CA DF&G did not comply, under the premise issuing those permits is “ministerial, giving then no discretion to do otherwise.

Given the obvious conundrum there, the issue is then further complicated by the California legislature, without an Attorney Generals legal opinion, whether or not SB 670 is legal. The legislature pass's SB 670, which prohibits all suction dredging state wide until both state court orders are complied with, a state wide CEQA study is performed, and any new suction dredging regulations, if needed, are implemented.

In so far as the right to mine, on federal lands, on unpatented mining claims, is a federally protected private property right. Public Lands for People, et., al., immediately filed a lawsuit against the state of California, against numerous unlawful provisions of SB 670.

In the same span of time, CA DF&G spends $1.5 million dollars hiring a “"water quality"” evaluation firm, to commence the state wide CEQA study. The firm presents CA DF&G with an “Initial Study” report that is fundamentally flawed, because neither CA DF&G or the firm have expertise, nor experience with federal land law, federal mining law, and associated private property rights conferred to owners of unpatented mining claims, where the vast majority of suction dredge gold mining takes place in California.

Furthermore, public meetings are scheduled by mandate of the California Administrative Procedures Act, in Fresno on the 16th, Sacramento on the 17th, Redding Ca., on the 18th of November. Where the public may submit “comments” . On, or before November 24th, the California state Attorney Generals Office (AG) will submit its answer to the federal lawsuit against the illegal provisions of SB 670.

Depending on admissions, or denials in that AG answer, it is possible the court may issue an injunction, halting any or all aspects of the process, until the matter is decided on the merits of briefs alone. Or, possibly the federal court process plays out in a trial, leaving a jury to decide the matter.

Here we have a California Indian tribe, without any protected fishing rights, suing to protect, the rights they don’t have.

Sport fishing associations supporting the Indian tribes litigation to protect fish, so they can catch, and kill them.

The state courts fumbling the matter, ignoring the private property rights, unpatented mining claim owners do have.

The CA DF&G doing flip flips whether or not the issuance of suction dredge permits is “ministerial” or not.

Meaning, they either have no discretion, and must issue them, or discretion to not issue them.

The legislature finding SB 670 has no or negligible economic impact. When in fact the economic impact toll may reach $100 million dollars annually.

The legislature passing SB 670, premised on “findings” that will be made at some future date, which is laughable.

The legislature passing SB 670, as emergency legislation, where no emergency exists, which is unconscionable.

A state agency that does in fact regulate mining, which exempts permitting on mining of less than 1000 yards of material, on less that one acre.

Which pales in comparison to what suction dredging can do on any one site.

Public hearings going on, the results of which will certainly effect the private property rights of as many as 60,000 individual owners of unpatented mining claims in California, without any notice to them.

A state agency that has very little expertise in what it regulates, hiring a private firm, that clearly has no expertise in much of what it is being paid $1.5 million dollars to do.

A “temporary” ban on all suction dredge gold mining in California, that is “indefinite”.

Private property being illegally taken, without just compensation being paid.

Not from one, but thousands of mining claim owners.

All in all here, we have an ever expanding comedy of bureaucratic bumbling.

The end of which is not yet in sight.

Apparently, this is a perfect example of California “governance” at it’s finest.

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Your "VENT" is perfect!

Yesterday, I was grinding away at the line by line, page by page task, or preparing written “comments” on this initial study report.

Line by line, page by page, I could not help but get perturbed.

The more work I did, the angrier I got, because this is a thick report to go through & comment on.

For instance, this report goes into visual ascetics & noise as serious potential impact.

Given, a claim owner has a right of ownership to be on his property & mine it.

It’s silly consider that some hiker, swimmer, or someone on an inner tube, or kayak floating by.

Might be offended at the sight of someone doing something permissible on his own property.

That’s silly.

DF&G doesn’t consider that a suction dredger might be offended by the sight of fishermen, swimmers, or whatever.

As for dredge engine noise offending someone wandering, or floating by.

Again, motorized dredging is permissible.

Engine noise from outboard motors, motor cycles or lawn mowers, is permissible.

Why would far less engine noise from isolated dredge motors not be?

That’s silly.

All that sort of thing, in this study report proves beyond any reasonable doubt the firm doing this.

Doesn’t have any knowledge of the rights & private property interests, a mining claim owner has.

Finally I got to the point, I was flustered enough to have a jack & coke, to try and relax.

After 1, I had another, and could not help myself.

I had to vent, which resulted in that “vent” post.

I would hope, I did not offend either DF&G, or the firm they hired.

Because, they could consider that another potential serious environmental impact & include it also. :rasberry:

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Allow me to add more to the “vent” post.

Thousands having to pay property taxes & maintenance fees on property CA forbids us to use

Thousands watching their mining property become near worthless, overnight.

Thousands owning once valuable mining claims no one will buy now.

Thousands owning dredges they are forbidden by CA to use.

Thousands of claim owners being deprived of badly needed legitimate income.

Thousands being criminally liable to CA, for something federal law encourages & permits.

Thousands being badly damaged by CA state government malfeasance.

Thousands having indefeasible civil liberties & rights arbitrarily abridged by CA.

Thousands suffering the indignity of lengthy CA bureaucratic process bumbling.

Thousands disgusted with the ignorance of CA state politicians & government.

Thousands angry, with good cause to be.

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This linked article makes me believe there is a double standard in Calif politics and fishery management. I'm angered that everyone is banned from salmon fishing except few few select. Even though I'm not a salmon fisherman.

The article is titled "Are gill nets decimating Klamath and Trinity salmon runs?"


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This CEQA initial study fails to recognize, ignores or intentionally omit’s the unequivocal fact that the vast majority of all small scale suction dredge gold mining in California takes place on unpatented mining claims on federal land. That fact might seem inconsequential to a laymen. Here, however it is critical. The Mining Act, 30 USC 21-54, and subsequent law grants, establishes, implements, and vests citizens with a statutory right to initiate, hold and mine valid mining claims. Even so, that may still seem inconsequential, as a CEQA study can be performed over any land within California.

However, in this instance, valid mining claim owners have a federally vested right to mine what they own. Which, under explicit terms of both the federal, and state constitutions cannot be “taken” without just compensation first being paid. Neither CDFG, SB 670, nor CEQA contains any provision for funding, or payment of compensation to any affected mining claim owner that this CEQA study will “take”, by depriving mining claim owners of all economically beneficial use of their property.

The state of California, and CDFG go to great pains to recognize, and accommodate California’s indian tribes with vested federal fishing rights. Doing so begs the legal question, why the California legislature, and CDFG ignores the federally vested equivalent I., E., mining rights of owners of suction dredge type mining claims, to mine in those same waterways. Especially so, when suction dredging does negligible, or inconsequential harm (if any) to salmon.

While it is the sole intent & purpose of Indian’s to capture, and kill salmon.

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............... :olddude:

CDFG has no statutory authority over “mineral resources’ within California.

No one can rationally refute that ‘mining claims” involve ‘mineral resources”, and their extraction.

No one can credibly refute the majority of all suction dredge gold mining in California takes place on mining claims.

The protection of mineral resources in California is the responsibility of the following agencies.

Which either have statutory authority or are Responsible Agencies under CEQA:

1. California Department of Conservation is the primary agency with regard to mineral resource protection.

The Department is charged with conserving earth resources (Public Resources Code Sections 600-690)

2. State Mining and Geology Board, which develops policy direction regarding the development and conservation of mineral resources and reclamation of mined lands.

CDFG lacks statutory authority over California‘s “mineral resources”.

Which negates their ability to make rulings governing, permitting, or prohibiting their extraction.

Furthermore, the site, or legal description of a CEQA project must be accurately identified within an EIR.

Given, this EIR is “statewide”.

It is therefore incumbent on the lead agency to identify with certain specificity each individual site, all individual property, including each unpatented mining claim it may effect or involve with the EIR.

A CEQA project cannot be a “one size fits all” within an EIR.

Plainly, the environment of one individual site, will differ significantly from all others.

Consequently, what may be a significant impact at one site, may be of no or negligible impact in another.

Any purported CEQA study that utilizes a “one size fits all” methodology is therefore fundamentally flawed.

.................. :inocent:

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Public Resources Code, Section 21002.1 (a) states that:

"The purpose of an environmental impact report is to identify the significant effects of a project on the environment, to identify alternatives to the project, and to indicate the manner in which those significant effects can be mitigated or avoided."

If potential environmental impacts are identified, the agency is then required to analyze what is necessary to mitigate them and/or select feasible alternatives.

With regard to “suction dredge gold mining”, within unpatented mining claims, there are no feasible “alternatives”, other than seasonal , or permanent closures. Either of which, would effect regulatory “takings” of private property interests held by all affected unpatented mining claim owners.

Any seasonal restriction that closes a given area (where unpatented mining claim are situated), for example ten (10) months of the year, “takes” the owners property right for that ten (10) month period, effecting an annual “temporary” “taking” of very significant duration.

Temporary “takings” of private property of this nature would generally be considered “compensable”, as they “take” all economic benefit for a significant period of time.

Permanent closures of any area where an unpatented mining claim is situated, would effect a complete “taking” of all economic benefit a mining claim owner has. As he owns nothing more than the right to mine his property.

Generally, “economic impacts” need not be included within a “CEQA” study. As economic impacts are not potential, or actual physical changes to the environment. Here however, when temporary, or permanent closures of given area’s are utilized to “mitigate” or “avoid” significant effects to the environment attributed to suction dredging, economic impact is relevant to measure the significance of an environmental impact.

The U.S. Supreme Court has unequivocally determined “unpatented mining claims” are private property, subject to Constitutional protection from “taking”, without compensation. Given that fact, this CEQA study must include an economic analysis, on its effects, as they pertain to “suction dredge gold mining” on mining claims. In-so-far as this CEQA study result take's” hundreds of millions, if not a billions of dollars in compensable private property rights belonging to affected mining claim owners.

Considering the magnitude of dollar amounts involved, of compensable ‘taking” implications of this specific CEQA study, as they pertain to affected mining claims state wide. When dollar amounts are used as a measure, compared to near negligible, negligible, direct, or cumulative environmental effects. Anyone with the ability to perform simple subtraction, when one value is subtracted from the other, clearly proves suction dredge gold mining environmental effects are De Minimis.

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Well thought out, and carefully crafted legislation results in sound law, and subsequent regulations that are rarely ever challenged, and almost never overturned. Simply because they are meticulously legal in all aspects, from the very start. If, or when judicial review of well founded law, or regulation is initiated, judges generally have an simple task in finding the facts of the matter, governing law, and making correct expeditious judgment.

Profoundly, SB 670 is not such legislation, nor are the regulations resulting from it. In fact, the premise behind SB 670, its “findings”, and need to be passed as an “urgency” measure are all fundamentally flawed. Hence, all provisions, and resulting regulations of SB 670, once in effect were immediately challenged as being contrary to, and/or abrogating a very extensive list of governing constitutional, federal, and state laws.

At the forefront of that federal court legal challenge, in-so-far as historically suction dredge gold mining is a completely legal business occupation. That sadly matters not, as 670 immediately prohibited all suction dredge gold mining, state wide for an unascertainable indefinite period of time, based on multiple court ordered CDFG, CEQA and APA governed contingencies that, any one of which, several, or all may never actually occur.

CDFG has began the process, but it face numerous uncertainties. The first of which is, if the federal court challenge of SB 670 results in the court expeditiously granting immediate injunctive relief to the plaintiffs, of one sort, or another. Which has profound merit, in that SB 670 prohibitions capriciously caused, and will continue to cause thousands of affected parties, and mining claim owners in California unjustifiable hardship, loss of occupation, livelihood, income, and constitutionally protected private property rights. As an effected party, at times, it is difficult to remain civil when expressing my thoughts about the matter.

................. :olddude:

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The reality here is that the sporadic operation of one single small scale suction dredge in all of California’s waterways, would almost certainly not trigger CEQA.

Here, via legislation, the issuance of 3,200 small scale suction dredge permits has.

Simply because, whether well founded, justified or not, the legislature, and Governor made it so.

Consequently, it is the cumulative impact of 3,200 suction dredge sporadic seasonal operations scattered state wide that must be determined.

Rather than the impact of one, in one specific place.

How can it be possible, without performing 3,200 CEQA studies of suction dredges operating where, and when they previously could.

Given that each place where small scale suction dredges operate has differing site specific environmental factors.

As a very brief example, for instance:

1. Some waterways have consistent high volume water flow rates, some do not.

2. Some waterways contain relatively cold water, while others are relatively warm.

3. Some waterways have high natural turbidly, some do not.

4. Some waterways are polluted with all sorts of noxious waste, some are not.

5. Some waterways are perennial, some are not.

6. Some waterways contain ESA listed fish, others do not.

7. Some waterways are relatively scenic, or pristine, others are not.

8. Some waterways see a high amount of recreational use, others do not.

9. Some waterways have course substrates, others do not.

10. Some waterways are heavily forested, others are not.

11. Some waterways are heavily fished, others are not.

12. Some waterways contain appreciable mercury, others do not.

That is just a few of the thousands of site specific differences that could be listed.

Given the magnitude of site specific environmental differences.

Which are widely dispersed over more than 100 million square acres.

Which contain more than 211,500 miles of streams, rivers, and waterways of every sort.

Any one of which may be susceptible to seasonal, or sporadic suction dredge gold mining by any number of differing sized, or horse power range suction dredges.

Regardless of size or horsepower, it is apparent there would be only one single suction dredge per 31,250 square acres.

Or about one suction dredge operating per 70 waterway miles in California.

Certainly, some area’s are prone to higher suction dredge concentrations, than others.

Never the less, suction dredging is sporadic, seasonal, performed weather permitting, widely dispersed, and the effects are so fleeting.

It is extremely difficult, and often impossible to identify suction dredge sites the following year.

By law, CEQA studies are site specific.

If not, for instance one CEQA study covering any individual building construction site, would fit all others state wide.

Which, is not the case, nor allowed by CEQA.

How then is it legally possible that the California legislature can mandate CDFG perform a statewide CEQA study.

To cover literally millions of potential individual suction dredge gold mining sites.

All of which differ, then draw conclusions supportable by clear substantiation, material fact, a preponderance of evidence, or even fair argument.

CEQA mandates, “one shoe does not fit all”, yet CDFG attempts it here................ :olddude:

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It is an fundamental principle of California law.

That where legal activities will be restricted by environmental laws;

That they only be restricted to the extent required to mitigate their adverse effects on California Fish and Wildlife.

Where mitigation measures are required;

“the measures or alternatives required shall be roughly proportional in extent to any impact on those species that is caused by that person”( FGC § 2052.1).

The California Endangered Species Act specifically provides that agencies shall develop measures that avoid jeopardizing listed species

“while at the same time maintaining the project purpose to the greatest extent possible” (FGC § 2053);

The standard of restraining restrictions to the minimal extent necessary is also fully incorporated into CEQA.

And made particularly applicable to judicial relief.

Court’s orders “shall include only those mandates which are necessary to achieve compliance with this division and only those specific project activities in noncompliance with this division”. PRC § 21168.9(B )

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A CEQA process is neither legitimate, or legal.

If the property owners are not given timely legal “notice” of the "project", involving their property.

Two of the basic purposes of CEQA are to inform governmental decision-makers and the public about the potential significant effects, if any, of a proposed project and to provide opportunities for other agencies and the public to review and comment on draft environmental documents. The latter is crucial to the effectiveness of the former.

Depending upon the characteristics of a project and its potential for significant environmental effects, CEQA review may pursue one of three basic directions: (1) an exemption (statutory or categorical); (2) a negative declaration (including a mitigated negative declaration); or (3) an environmental impact report (EIR). Requirements for review, comment, and notice vary according to the complexity of the environmental review.

The state of California by passage of SB 670 mandated the issuance of small scale suction dredge gold mining permits is a “project” subject to CEQA requirements. In doing so, the state of California automatically made all active suction dredge gold mining permit holders “proponents” of this CEQA “project”.

SB 670 provisions also placed all patented, and unpatented mining claim owners in California, who at any time may apply for a small scale suction dredge gold mining “permit”. To be in the position of CEQA “project proponents”. As, most certainly they own affected private property, and would defend those property rights, to protect them for their own their own benefit, and use. Just as any other private property owner would.

CDFG sent individual written “Notice” by US mail to all holders of active suction dredge permits, such permits were cancelled, no provision for refunds exist, and no future permits will be issued until such time as the various other stringent requirements of SB 670 are met.

However, CDFG did not give written “Notice” to all affected individual mining claim owners in California, SB 670 automatically made “project proponents”. The CEQA process is normally triggered by a person, entity or agency applying for a “permit” to do something that may have a significant adverse effect on California’s environment. If that is found to be the case, and the proposed project is not covered by any CEQA “exemptions”. The CEQA process is triggered, and proceeds.

That whole CEQA body of law, regulation, and agenda is based on the premise, that a person, or entity having made an application for a permit, certainly has knowledge, and constructive notice of the process, as the applicant, or applicants themselves initiated it.

In this case, that is absolutely not so. Because all prospective applicants (i., e., all mining claim owners in California) who’s private property rights will certainly be profoundly affected by this CEQA project, neither have, or were given “notice” of them being arbitrarily placed in the position of CEQA project applicants, or proponents.

In effect, what we have here is an adjudicative land use decision process, without the land, or property rights owners (i., e., mining claim owners) being legally informed, or given actual notice of the adjudication of crucial matters intensely affecting each of them, and all of their individual private property rights combined.

Under those factual conditions, without actual notice to all effected fee simple property and mining claim owners, the whole of the CEQA, APA process is fundamentally flawed from the beginning. For instance, CDFG scheduled three public “scoping” meetings the 16th, 17th & 18th of November, 2009, so that involved parties could submit questions, and/or comments on the process. Written comments on the process will not be entertained, if not submitted by December 3, 2009.

(LINK http://www.dfg.ca.gov/news/news09/2009110201.asp )

In that CDFG gave no actual written notice to all affected patented, or unpatented “mining claim owners”, statewide throughout California. Them lacking such notice of the process, scoping meetings, and comment submission deadline periods compounds the critical flaws being made here, one after the other by the state of California, and the lead agency (CDFG).

These critical administrative and procedural errors here, one after another, fatally “taint” the complete CEQA process regarding small scale suction dredge gold mining permits. To the degree each error, or cumulative multiple errors make the process more, and more subject to a whole series of “judicial” challenges. One, any, or all of which will certainly be brought by affected parties, in order to protect their private property rights.

The point being here, CDFG, and the company they paid $1.5 million dollars to made the initial crucial error of omitting the fact, the bulk of all small scale suction dredge gold mining throughout California takes place on “mining claims”.

Then, compounds that error, by lacking an understanding, or ignoring all the “private property rights” mining claim owners have. Then, continues to compound their errors, by failing to give legal notice to all mining claim owners involved, of these administrative proceedings critically affecting their constitutionally protected private property rights.

Plainly, there are separate factual private property right issues involving tens of thousands of mining claims in California that, must be accepted and acted upon here.

Which would require restructuring and rewriting sections of the initial study report entirely distinct from those addressing potential enviromental issues.

Once done, and with legal notice given to all involved, including mining claim owners, new scoping meetings, and comment periods would be required. No one involved wants to suffer through this tedious expensive process twice. As such, it is incumbant on the lead agency to do it properly, the first time. Sadly, in this instance, I fear CDFG has pulled a few CEQA & APA triggers, far to soon. The prudent thing to have done, CDFG lacking a CA Attorney Generals legal opinion regarding legality issues, would have been to wait for the CA AG answer to the pending PLP lawsuit. As it will clarify the states legal position here, with regards to all involved mining claims, and associated private property rights those owners have. :inocent:

Anyone thinking that all mining claim owners in California will stand idly by, doing nothing, while the state perpetrates an illegal regulatory “taking” of their property. Which deprives the owners of all of their property's utility and value. Unlawfully denying them of every benefit of the private property they own. Here, the California legislature, and CDFG is grossly mistaken, as doing so is a constitutionally forbidden de facto taking without compensation. Which mining claim owners throughout California will never allow.

If the state of California wish's to honestly "take” our property, to retain as a place where campers, swimmers, boaters, fishermen, casual recreational users, indian tribes and environmentalists can revel in the glory of it all, without small scale suction dredge gold mining happening there. The state must simply pay for what they take. Plain as that. .............. :olddude:

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