Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation authored by Senator Ben Allen that will protect California rivers and streams from environmentally hazardous suction dredge mining.
This legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 637, requires suction dredge mining to be regulated by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), which is responsible for ensuring that water quality standards are met in the course of any activities affecting state waterways.
By empowering the SWRCB to regulate the activity, SB 637 seeks to ensure that suction dredge mining does not adversely affect water quality. It also prohibits the Department of Fish and Wildlife from issuing a suction dredge mining permit until the SWRCB has determined it can be done without adverse impacts on water quality and fish.
The new law will take effect on January 1, 2016.