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A bill that restricts mining in salmon and trout streams advances in the Oregon Senate. The measure sets a 5-year ban on suction dredge mining -- the practice of sucking up river gravels to look for precious metals.
A California legislative panel has proposed action that would extend a ban on suction dredge gold mining for five years. The full legislature has yet to take final action.
Communities | Fish & Wildlife | Politics | Water | Land use | EnvironmentMarch 4, 2015 2:30 a.m.
The Washington and Oregon legislatures are considering limits on suction dredge mining -- a technique that uses large floating vacuums to suck up rocky streambeds and sift out precious metals.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Forest Service violated the Endangered Species Act when it approved a number of mining operations on the Klamath River in 2004. The ruling applies to salmon streams throughout the West, where suction dredge mining claims will now be harder to work.
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has signed a bill into law that will limit the number of small gold-mining dredges in Oregon's waterways.
Members of Oregon's congressional delegation introduced two bills today that would restrict gold mining on the Chetco River in southern Oregon.
The U.S. Forest Service wants new restrictions on mining on the Chetco River in southwest Oregon and has asked the Bureau of Land Management to place a stretch of the river under temporary protection for two years.
A national conservation group has named the Chetco river in southwest Oregon one of the country's 10 most endangered rivers this year.
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With gold prices sky high, environmentalists and others are worried about a potential gold rush in southern Oregon. In fact, members of Oregon's Congressional delegation just introduced bills that would make parts of the Chetko river off limits to suction dredge mining. Dave McCracken runs a gold prospecting association in northern California. He says when California put a moratorium on suction mining last year, it left some of his members looking north to the Rogue river. But he adds that, during a recent trip the Rogue, he didn't see anything he would describe as a rush. Meanwhile, a very different kind of mining operation looks like it's about to get underway near Coos Bay. The Oregon Resources Corporation is poised to become the state's only commercial strip mine — getting chromite, zircon and garnet out of land near the ocean. Though ORC is just one permit away from a green light, some environmentalists and community members remain staunchly opposed.
We'll hear from our EarthFix reporters about the latest efforts to transport oil and gas through the Pacific Northwest, putting a price on carbon, suction dredging, and new orca research.