Protect Oregon’s Rivers from Destructive Mining

Suction Dredger

Target: Oregon State Senate

Goal: Protect Oregon’s rivers from destructive dredge mining

Oregon’s rivers are in need of the people’s help. A new law has been placed under consideration in the Oregon Legislature titled Senate Bill 838. This bill would create a five-year moratorium on a practice known as “suction dredge mining” in salmon habitat, allowing future legislators to develop better regulations to protect Oregon’s natural heritage and to help cover the costs of any suction dredge mining that does occur. The passage of this bill would be an important step toward ensuring the protection of our rivers.

The amount of suction dredge mining occurring in Oregon has increased exponentially over the last few years. This deleterious mining practice uses a powerful motor combined with a pump to suction up gravel from the stream bottom before separating the metal from the gravel and flushing the remaining contaminated water back into waterways. The detrimental impacts of dredge mining have been documented thoroughly by scientists and government agencies, and include damage to the habitat of endangered fish and frogs, not to mention the toxic plumes of mercury that are released into the waterways, and the fact that “important recreational and cultural resources” are also damaged by this process. Urge the Oregon State Senate to pass SB 838 in order to protect Oregon’s fragile natural heritage.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear State Senate of Oregon,

Oregon’s rivers are in dire need of assistance. A new law is under consideration in the Oregon legislature titled Senate Bill 838. Said bill would create a “five-year moratorium” on a practice known as “suction dredge mining” in the habitat of salmon, allowing future legislators to develop better, more efficient regulations to protect Oregon’s natural heritage and to help cover the costs of any existing suction dredge mining. The passage of this moratorium would be an important step toward ensuring the protection of the state’s rivers.

The frequency of suction dredge mining in Oregon has significantly increased over the last few years. This dangerous mining practice makes use of a powerful motor in combination with a pump to draws up gravel from the stream bottom before separating the desired metal from the gravel and flushing the remaining contaminated water back into the vulnerable waterways. The detrimental impacts of dredge mining have been documented by scientists and government agencies, and include damage to the habitat of endangered fish and frogs, the release of toxic plumes of mercury into the waterways, and the fact that “important recreational and cultural resources” are also damaged by this process. We demand that you protect our rivers by signing Senate Bill 838 into law.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Andreas Trepte via Wikimedia Commons

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548 Signatures

  • Alice Rim
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