CSPA and a coalition of fishing and environmental groups submitted comments to the California Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee opposing SB 657 (Gaines). The bill would repeal the current prohibition on the use of suction dredge mining equipment, which was approved by the California Legislature in 2009. Suction dredging destroys critical fish habitat and mobilizes toxic mercury, which creates water quality problems and human health risks.
SB 657 would exempt the issuance of mining permits from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), even as the Department of Fish and Game is conducting a CEQA review. DFG has acknowledged that suction dredging permitting costs the Department hundreds of thousands of dollars more than it ever collected in fees. The former 1994 suction dredge regulations contributed significantly to the decline in commercial and sport fisheries and the jobs and economies hat depended upon these fisheries. SB657 (Gaines) Coalition Letter