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El Dorado County Sheriff-Coroner Supports Property Rights of Miners


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March 14, 2012

Public Lands for the People

President Jerry Hobbs

3700 Santa Carlotta St

La Crescenta, CA 91214-1048

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.

Page 2 of 2

March 14, 2012

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


John D’Agostini

Sheriff ~ Coroner

Public Administrator

cc: Assemblywoman Beth Gaines

Senator Ted Gaines

El Dorado County Board of Supervisors

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