Panning in protest: Activists mine for gold in defiance of EPA regs

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posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 03:48 AM
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"This is the United States of America, not the 'United State' of America. The feds can't come in here like storm troopers and start running our lands and rivers," organizer John Crossman, the head of the Southwest Idaho Mining Association in Boise, told Reuters.

The EPA last year ruled that suction dredgers need permits to operate in the state. Permit regulations forbid suction dredges in streams with threatened or endangered species such as salmon, steelhead and bull trout.

However, the miners said they refuse to get a permit because they do not recognize the authority of the EPA to regulate the rivers. About 60 miners came out to a demonstration on Tuesday, according to Reuters, and the week-long protest will culminate in a July 4 rally.


I am with these protestors. The Feds and their alphabet agencies need to back off. They are taking land from states and private citizens and visiting their draconian policies on the American people. I am so glad to see people fighting back this 4th of July.

It isn't so much this one issue that gets me, but the overall overreach of the Feds into all the aspects of our lives. The Government needs to go back to what it was intended which is common defense, currency etc and back off of the States with their BS.

I am glad to see common people taking a stand and pushing back.

Source




posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 04:15 AM
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Well, the problem here is that those dredges suck up all the rocks, and small plant and animal life with them. They make the water downstream into mud, choking out fish and other life. They change the natural course of a stream, and cause erosion. Damage to the ecosystem dominoes in subtle ways most may not imagine.
Basically, those suction dredges, particularly when used with no regard for the environment, and even more particularly when folks are doing it the whole length of a waterway, DESTROY pristine habitat.

This isn't the 1850's and gold pans. This is a lot of people with loud, polluting gas powered machines wrecking everything in sight.
One such 'protesting' miner ruined a whole stretch of beautiful trout stream around here before he was stopped, and it will take nature years to rebuild there.
This is not about Gov vs. people. It is about greedy for gold people thinking they have a right to destroy an ecosystem that is one of few remaining pristine in this nation. Greed and disregard for anyone else but themselves.
If you were lucky enough to live by a clear. healthy mountain stream, full of trout, mammals, and everything else, how would you like it if every mining hobbyest (and their numbers grow) could drive right in from any every city in the US and DECIMATE it?

Lack of consciousness is why the US now possesses a shadow of its former natural glory, and greedy inconsiderate people would ravage it to death if they could.
edit on 5-7-2014 by ecapsretuo because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 04:20 AM
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I'm not usually one to rule for my government regulation either, but we're talking Idaho here... Over 63% of the land in the state is Federal Land. That's more than half and that is quite a large percentage when compared even to other states. (Then again, a lot of the west is Federal...) Point is, most of the land belongs to them, the EPA is trying to maintain land and resource integrity. Dredging isn't exactly the kindest thing to do to the environment, anyway.

If that isn't convincing enough, can we look at it on a more personal note? I like to fish for trout. I pay for a license when I do. They're harming waterways with trout (and endangered species)... Their actions are harming people like me, who have paid for a product as well as the environment. Or, at least, that might partially be the logic.



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 04:31 AM
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a reply to: hydeman11

Yes, the fishermen here do not argue that their daily catch limit is regulated by the government.
They know if it were not, eventually there would be no fish for anyone to catch.



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 04:39 AM
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a reply to: ecapsretuo

I agree with your post above mine. I think once the initial gut response of "they took our privilege away" fades, more people will realize that this was for the greater good of the area. A lot of laws that regulate things are beneficial to us... Like the Clean Water Act, which ensures the quality of water. Sometimes, just sometimes, it looks like the government occasionally has our interests in mind, at least in the beginning of law planning.



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 11:07 AM
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I would have no problem if people actually "Panned" for gold. You know? The old fashioned way...using a pan. It can be relaxing.

But mucking up pristine environment using dredgers and the like I am totally against.



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 11:09 AM
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a reply to: Metallicus

No one pans for gold any more. They use these noisy motor run rigs that foul up the waterways.

I am with these protestors. The Feds and their alphabet agencies need to back off. They are taking land from states and private citizens and visiting their draconian policies on the American people. I am so glad to see people fighting back this 4th of July.


I am glad to see common people taking a stand and pushing back.

Well, I'm a private citizen and a common person too and I am tired of the self-proclaimed miners who under cloak of American freedom, foul the local river with little care for other people who are not dredgers. They fill the water with silt which fouls the water that others want to fish and swim in. They squat on the beaches with their rigs and trailers and campers leaving no room for families with children and grandparents to visit public waterways.

I applaud the people who have expressed their concern for the public good to their congressmen so that these regulations on dredging will make our rivers more accessible to everyone, not just the selfish dredgers.



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 11:18 AM
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I guess it's different if you operate from an LLC?

Once you become a fictitious corporation, your liability/responsibility to the environment and it's inhabitants becomes less restrictive?



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 11:22 AM
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originally posted by: ecapsretuo
Well, the problem here is that those dredges suck up all the rocks, and small plant and animal life with them. They make the water downstream into mud, choking out fish and other life. They change the natural course of a stream, and cause erosion. Damage to the ecosystem dominoes in subtle ways most may not imagine.
Basically, those suction dredges, particularly when used with no regard for the environment, and even more particularly when folks are doing it the whole length of a waterway, DESTROY pristine habitat.

This isn't the 1850's and gold pans. This is a lot of people with loud, polluting gas powered machines wrecking everything in sight.
One such 'protesting' miner ruined a whole stretch of beautiful trout stream around here before he was stopped, and it will take nature years to rebuild there.
This is not about Gov vs. people. It is about greedy for gold people thinking they have a right to destroy an ecosystem that is one of few remaining pristine in this nation. Greed and disregard for anyone else but themselves.
If you were lucky enough to live by a clear. healthy mountain stream, full of trout, mammals, and everything else, how would you like it if every mining hobbyest (and their numbers grow) could drive right in from any every city in the US and DECIMATE it?

Lack of consciousness is why the US now possesses a shadow of its former natural glory, and greedy inconsiderate people would ravage it to death if they could.


Deny ignorance, DON'T EMBRACE IT! Gold miners improve fish habitat, they do not destroy it. Each year gold miners remove hundreds of pounds of dangerous mercury from rivers and streams. They also remove the litter and fish killing debris that thoughtless fishermen and hikers leave behind. This amounts to hundreds of tons each year across the western United States. The greediest people in this whole issue are the bogus scientists who take millions of dollars in government money and then give the government the reports that they are looking for. Independent studies done by people who are not paid millions of dollars by the government have shown that suction dredging actually improves the fish habitat. The government has an agenda to close off wilderness areas to human activity. See UN Agenda 21.



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 11:28 AM
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originally posted by: TerryMcGuire
a reply to: Metallicus

No one pans for gold any more. They use these noisy motor run rigs that foul up the waterways.

I am with these protestors. The Feds and their alphabet agencies need to back off. They are taking land from states and private citizens and visiting their draconian policies on the American people. I am so glad to see people fighting back this 4th of July.


I am glad to see common people taking a stand and pushing back.

Well, I'm a private citizen and a common person too and I am tired of the self-proclaimed miners who under cloak of American freedom, foul the local river with little care for other people who are not dredgers. They fill the water with silt which fouls the water that others want to fish and swim in.



Silt is already in the water. Miners do not ADD silt to an otherwise pristine stream. Mining stirs up what is already there and it rapidly settles. Storm runoff disturbs much more silt and it does it along the entire length of a stream. The ignorance in this thread amazes me! One can get up early in the morning and go down to a dredging hole before the miners start work and see plenty of fish in the hole. Mining does not kill them. They are temporarily displaced.



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 12:07 PM
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a reply to: groingrinder

I almost did not use the word silt because I knew it was not the right word, but used it anyway. There is a word for the filmy water washing down stream stirred up by dredgers but it escaped me. Busted.

As for the rest of the ignorance in this thread, I'm sure the 16 dredgers who spent summer two years ago in a half mile of river up the road from me would love to hear about Agenda 21. Once that season of dredging was over, I took back to swimming out of that hole and there, where there had been for years previously, were no fish. Sure, they will come back but for me this is not the issue. For me the issue is the dredgers lack of consideration for other, non dredging citizens. We have our rights too. Your very word exemplifies the problem. Around here they are not "dredging holes" but through decades of tradition, "swimming holes". Here, the swimmers are being displaced by dredgers who call them 'dredging holes'.



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 12:43 PM
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a reply to: groingrinder

For me it depends. There are the bigger operations that use industrial size dredgers which I am against. I think there are also times of the year when fish take to spawning that I think dredging should halt.

The smaller operations wit the lawn mower sized engines that run the dredgers I think are actually beneficial to the environment. They seem to be cleaning up the decades past gold mining operations.

Both sides seem to be making polar opposite claims on the environmental impact I think the reality probably lay somewhere in-between.



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 02:18 PM
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a reply to: Grimpachi

I agree with you, Grim. I think every state has fish and game departments. States should be handling this not some Federal Bureaucracy and that is what I think is causing the protests.



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 04:27 PM
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I was one of those dredgers and removed pounds of lead and mercury from the property i worked in northern calif.

I had fish feeding on bug larvae coming off the dredge.

At one site i recovered over 100 pounds of broken up lead battery plates that had been dumped into the river years before.

I also removed beer bottles and other glass when i found it.

There was no salmon,or steelhead on the rivers i worked as they were blocked by federal government built dams.
like the Bullards Bar Dam on the north fork Yuba river and the Our House Dam on the Middle Yuba River.
and the american river by Folsom dam.

The dams do more damage to fish every years then dredges have in the last 50 years



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 06:17 PM
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a reply to: ecapsretuoBS. you speak of what you do not know personally. i am a prospector. you need to know some things:

1. small dredges actually aerate the bed material. fish actually flock to the downstream end for a free meal. dredgers do not destroy fish spawning beds. they are outdoorsmen and fishermen themselves. scientific studies have been conducted on this showing that fisheries actually benefit from dredging in several ways. first there is the nutritive benefit for the fish.

but additionally dredgers remove and collect mercury from the waterway. both processed mercury and cinnabar minerals. they also removed lead shot and sinkers and bullets. the specific gravity of lead means that it gets trapped in the dredge sluice box along with mercury and gold. as they clean the bed most of them also remove trash they encounter. there are practical reasons for this but they also enjoy a clean environment; most of them being avid outdoorsmen themselves.

also i don't know if you have personally observed a small dredge in action but the effluent stream is normally completely invisible just a few meters downstream from the dredge. on top of that the statement that they muddy the water when any rain at all dumps more mud into the waterway than any dredge particularly the types of hobby level dredges small miners typically use could do in a century. when it rains the entire waterway turns opaque. a dredge effluent stream disappears a few meters downstream.


one final thing; no matter how big a hole the small dredger makes- momma nature fills it in in one flood season.

frankly that trash the miners pull out of the water got there from other users of the outdoors. canoeists, backpackers, fishermen, hunters, horsemen, bikers, ATVers and so forth. before you go after the dredger remember these others put that stuff there. who hurt the environment more?
edit on 5-7-2014 by stormbringer1701 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 06:33 PM
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a reply to: stormbringer1701

If true (and it very well could be, I will admit to not having experience or having any data to work with) that dredgers remove trash and dispose of mercury and other heavy metals responsibly, well I gotta say thanks. That's an ecologic good for certain and I can't argue with it.

I would, however, be curious as to the level of agitation... Some species of benthic macroinvertebrates (pretty much the base of the animal food chain that isn't plant material) are incredibly dependent upon rocks and the protection they provide from the natural currents and predators. As a fisherman (and one who tries to be environmentally kind, at least for the sake of others to enjoy), I love to see fish get big off of a free meal, but that can cause problems with population... Not enough macroinvertebrates=can't support large fish. Small changes can have huge effects on an ecosystem. (And I will definitely agree that dams cause major disruptions, but try arguing with an water/energy starved population of Americans...)

Again, I've got no info to back up my claims formally, but I know small changes trickle up... It should at least be looked into by someone who has more knowledge of the situation than I do.



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 07:03 PM
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the rocks dredgers suck up don't poof into nothingness thye are deposited right next to the dredge. the bugs and stuff moves down stream a bit but settles down soon enough though a lot of it gets ate immediately by opportunistic fish. i have seen several films of fish around the dredge not waiting for the stuff down stream getting shooed away by the nozzle man. aeration of the bed material actually results in more rapid growth of the stream bed micro-fauna. and if the dredge hole is large enough to survive a flood season or two it makes a favorable micro climate for fish. a deep pool that they can hang out into get a break from fighting the current. among other benefits.

yes dredgers do love finding mercury because it means gold. most is from the old timers and commercial miners of the 1800s. and most of it once lined a large sluice way. and therefore it is likely laden with Gold. so dredgers get every bit of it they can. but there are also natural sources of mercury. cinnabar minerals and so forth. dredgers get that stuff too.

i'll tell you a secret. i do not have a dredge yet. so i have to do my gold collection slowly. but one thing you do not want is to be rummaging you hands around in a bucket full of creek material and come up with used syringe needles going through you hands. or reaching into a boil hole in a rock river bed and slash you hands open on some idiots beer bottle shards. we clean where we work so that does not happen to the next miner and to leave the area better than we found it.



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 07:23 PM
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there are loads of studies but what happens is part of a legal strategy some opposition group always gets a ruling that calls for yet another study. this happened in california. it's supposed to be about salmon but it's not. the dredgers already are forbidden from disturbing a spawning bed or even working during the spawn. really though what it is about is some developers got with local indian tribes and the dredgers were in the way of development. so the developers and tribes got a moratorium on dredging the northern rivers "until a study gets done." the burden being on the dredgers of course. so dredging got banned in california. it did not matter that such studies had already been done many times and found no problem with dredging and panning activities. this had to be a new study. why because it got the case out of the judges face. that's why.and that is just what the petitioners wanted.

most public opposition to hobby dredging stems from deliberately inaccurate propagandic images about dredging using 1800s era images of high powered monitors leveling hillsides or huge commercial dredges systematically dissassembling natural water ways and leaving huge miles long levies of boulders on dry ground.



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 07:24 PM
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a reply to: stormbringer1701

I appreciate your thought out response. Absent of actual scientific study, it's better than no information.

That said, I was only trying to think of potential things to be aware of. I'm not a biology student (though I was required to take a few years of biology classes to get the degree I want) but I am aware of certain macroinvertebrates, mainly insect larvae, that are unhappy to be agitated and bashed around with rock material. Forgive me, I tend to be pessimistic not optimistic and skeptical instead of easily believing with regards to new information. (I assure you, no fault of anyone else, just my mind set, please do not be offended.)

Being a student of geology, I'm aware of cinnabar and native mercury in hydrothermal sulphide deposits.
I would imagine a large proportion of the mercury to be garbage based, however, based on my limited knowledge of the geology of the western interior. (I am aware of the hydrothermal systems old and new out there, but I am also aware of mercury from musket shots and sinkers...) I would be interested in seeing the data for mercury dissolution by way of cinnabar and related mineral species, however.


Also, I'm glad the waterways are being cleaned of garbage. I often forget just what gets dumped inconsiderately. I do hope that those with the horrible experiences you have mentioned are kept to a minimum. : /



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 07:43 PM
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as you more or less intimated the level of natural mercury in waterways depends on the local geology and chemistry. there are areas where cinnabar and other sources are a danger such that fish have elevated levels of mercury not attributable to atmospheric pollution sources or human activities. it's not common though. but there are some places in america like that.

in the bad old days 1800s through early 1900's mercury was used copiously and openly with little knowledge of safety or environmental issues. large sluice ways were coated in it because it would swallow gold specks that might otherwise escape out the end of the box. it was used to concentrate gold from tailings and concentrates. but the mercury (large amounts of it) would break off and get washed out into the watersheds and rivers. because this stuff is most often an easy source of concentrated gold amalgam modern prospectors almost always scoop this stuff up when they find it. also there are some modern miners still brave or dumb enough to retort this stuff as part of thier own mining clean ups for certain hard to process gold bearing minerals.

there are better healthier ways to do it nowadays. I mean you can do it with weak acids or bleach. most modern miners send it off to pro refiners to get the gold out and keep the mercury. some still use the frying pan or potato as a makeshift retort but most would poop a cinder block if you suggested they do it themselves or had to be around someone doing it.






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