New Dredging Law to Reduce Permits
A new measure passed by Oregon’s state legislature seeks to reduce by two-thirds the number of suction-dredging permits issued in salmon-producing areas. Senate Bill 838 is on Gov. John Kitzhaber’s desk and he plans to sign it, said Tim Raphael, his communications director. Kitzhaber has until Aug. 19 to sign legislatively-approved measures into law.
The bill, widely supported by environmentalists and harshly criticized by the mining industry, was approved by the senate on July 3, followed by the house on July 7.
Suction dredge mining employs a vacuum to suck up gravel from a stream bottom. Materials from the river bottom then go through a sluice to allow miners to strain out gold and other heavy metals.
Beginning in 2014, the law would set a limit of 850 permits for suction dredge mining on Oregon’s salmon-bearing rivers, matching the level allowed in 2009. There are roughly 2,400 permits allowed this year. In addition, the law implements new restrictions on where, when and how dredging can occur.
Featured image courtesy of [William Cho via Flickr]