The Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger
Office of the Governor State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:

I urge you to veto Assembly Bill 1032 (Wolk) when it comes before you.

Regardless of the recent amendments, this bill should be vetoed for the following reasons:

AB 1032 turns California’s environmental law upside down and denies the average citizen our right of appeal by not requiring any proof of harm or damage to species under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The bill closes California rivers and streams to suction dredge gold mining without any environmental review!

The closures in the bill are based upon the “opinions” of two Department of Fish and Game (DFG) biologists in a recent court case. The judge did not accept these “opinions,” ruling that DFG must do an environmental review prior to any closures.

AB 1032 closes some rivers to suction dredge gold mining year round and then requires an environmental study will be done on these rivers. How can an effective study even be done if the activity is banned in these rivers?

There are numerous studies which have demonstrated that suction dredge gold mining causes no harm to fish when they are not spawning. Suction dredge gold mining is heavily regulated and limited now to only 2-3 months per year on most waterways within California.

Many suction dredge gold miners have federal mining claims. These are real property rights. By closing rivers year round, the State will in effect “take” these the productive use of these property rights from citizens. There have been numerous Federal and State court cases which have upheld these federal property rights. If it is signed into law, AB 1032 will surely result in more court cases against the State.

The bill will undermine a vibrant part of California history, destroy the economies of rural counties, and deny citizens their property rights – all without providing any demonstrable benefit to the State.

My family, myself and many other ordinary Californians enjoy this activity for both recreation and to make extra money. The allure of this activity is the same as that which brought the 49ers to California during the Gold Rush. It is an important part of California’s heritage.

This is not an inexpensive hobby or avocation. I spend a great deal of money on equipment, lodging and contribute to the economy of mostly rural California. Many visitors come from other states and countries to enjoy this great outdoor activity, all for the possibility of finding gold. If signed into law, AB 1032 would put an end to most of this economic activity in rural California.

Please veto AB 1032.


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