Dave Mack

By Dave McCracken General Manager






Action Alert:

After years of litigation against the State of California for not updating its Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on suction dredging, the Karuks have now formally requested that the State Water Board not allocate the funds (which have been approved by the legislature) to do the work; they say, because it will take too long to complete. Here is a copy of their formal request.

At the same time, the Karuks and their allies have submitted a Petition for Emergency Rule-making to the California Department of Fish & Game to impose increased suction dredge restrictions and some closures upon our industry. The restrictions basically would impose Assembly Bill 1032, which is the anti-suction dredging litigation that Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed two years ago.

We devoted nearly all of last year (successfully) lobbying the State of California to allocate funding to update the dredging EIR (allowing the EIR process to decide how our regulations should be). The Karuks and their allies have fought us every step of the way.

Clearly, the strategy of our adversaries has been as follows:

1)Get the Court to Order California to update the EIR which supports suction dredging regulations. This was accomplished two years ago.

2)Persuade the Court, or the California legislature, or some State agency to further-restrict suction dredging activity until the EIR is finally updated. We have overcome every attempt so far, because the Karuks have yet to provide any evidence that a single fish has ever been harmed by suction dredging activity under our existing regulations.

3)Prevent funding to complete an update of the EIR so that the State of California will not be in compliance with the Court’€™s order, and provide our adversaries with a continuing argument to have further restrictions imposed upon suction dredge miners in California.

Our adversaries have now turned their propaganda machine into high gear. Here are a few of their recent articles:

Our own legal and political teams have also been very, very busy!

Last week, our lobbyists managed to overcome the Karuk attempt to kill State funding for an updated EIR to support suction dredging regulations in California. Here is an update on that from Pete Conaty.

Here is the formal response from our attorneys to the Karuk Application for Emergency Regulations. There is also a lot of other activity happening which I won’t go into here. We are working hard on this!

Here is a spot-on rebuttal which Jim Foley made to the press release put out by the Karuk Tribe.

This Action Alert is mainly about raising money to pay our specialists to

do important things for us right now. Our lobbyists are already in full gear; our attorney will be in Sacramento for us (along with myself and others) next week. We are at full steam on this one, because the Department of Fish & Game will make a formal Decision concerning Emergency Regulations within the next 2 weeks or so!

Note that our adversaries are also now attacking key gold bearing rivers in the Mother lode area.

Because our need to raise funds is immediate, once again, we have our ever-vigilant member, Jim Yerby, to thank for organizing yet another set of very valuable prizes for a prize drawing – which is already in progress. In addition to 51 very nice prizes which have been donated by others, we also are expressing big thank yous to Jeff Kuykendal at Proline for donating a brand new 3-inch Proline dredge (worth $2,500.00) as our main prize, and to Louie Welding for donating a 2 -inch dredge/high-banker combo!

If anyone would like to contribute a prize towards our legal and political fundraising, please contact Jim at

Here is a link to the list of prizes in this latest fundraiser.

The contributors of these prizes have authorized the girls in our office to print a ticket on your behalf for each $10 contribution that we receive from you ($100 contribution will generate10 tickets, etc.). This prize drawing will take place on 4 July, 2009. There is no limit to the number of tickets you can accumulate, or the number of prizes you can win in this drawing.

Important note: While these prize drawings certainly do make it more interesting, I cannot overstate the importance of supporting our need to pay for important political and legal action right now. This is more important than winning prizes. It is about defending our right to continue prospecting for gold in California. It is about preventing our adversaries from underhandedly cheating us out of our mining rights!

Having no choice in the matter (timing is everything), we have already committed the necessary funds to our lobbyists and attorneys to overcome Emergency Regulations being imposed upon our industry. Consequently, our legal fund is already $5,000 in the hole. You guys have always backed us up before. I am hoping you will do it again!

Please send financial contributions to: The New 49’ers Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039. Or, you can call in a donation at (530) 493-2012.

PS: This emergency situation came up just as we were getting ready to put out a January newsletter with more pleasant news and a fun video-enhanced adventure story. Since we can only fit 4 pieces of paper in the hard-copy version of the monthly newsletter, this Action Alert had to take priority. Sorry about that. Hopefully, this situation will be behind us, so we can send out something more fun in February!

Thanks very much for whatever you guys (and gals) can do to help!