Sponsored by Forest Grove Economic Development
Home Blogs Opinion Oregon lawmakers moonlight as amateur scientists

Oregon lawmakers moonlight as amateur scientists

| Print |  Email
Opinion
Wednesday, April 24, 2013

BY SEN. ALAN OLSEN | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

04.24.13 Blog DredgeMining2My name is Alan Olsen, and I am a member of the Oregon Senate, representing District 20. I am also Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. This will be the third legislative session I have served on this committee, and I am still consistently surprised by the type of policy that I see moving through the committee.

Last week the committee voted on two bills to ban legally permitted small-scale mining operations on Oregon's waterways. SB 838 will impose a five-year moratorium on small-scale mining with suction dredge equipment, and SB 401 will declare 14,000 miles of Oregon waterways as "scenic waterways." I voted against both bills for one simple reason; not once during the many hours of public testimony was the committee presented with scientific evidence that the practice of small-scale suction dredge mining is damaging to fish populations or the environment.

The opponents of the bill; including scientists and members of the mining community, provided countless examples of how the practice is environmentally sound and unobtrusive to streams and rivers. The proponents of the bill argued that their "gut instinct" is that the practice must be bad and that Oregon must ban the practice for 5 years in order to determine if their instincts are correct. The majority of my colleagues on the committee must have the same gut instinct because the bill passed.

So there you have it Oregon; your lawmakers have taken it upon themselves to make scientific judgments about things they do not understand so that they can ban an activity they personally disapprove of. The five-year moratorium is a last-ditch effort by the bill's proponents to allow science to catch up with their personal beliefs. The bill calls for a scientific study of the practice's environmental impact to take place during the moratorium.

In the meantime we can say goodbye to small-scale mining in Oregon. Who needs science when you have the Oregon Legislature?

Alan Olsen (R-Canby) is a member of the Oregon State Senate, representing District 20.

Editor's Note:  Oregon Business accepts opinion pieces on topics relevant to the state's business community. See Op-Ed submission guidelines here.

 

Comments   

 
Guest
+9 #1 small scale minerGuest 2013-04-24 19:08:36
Thank you Senator Olsen for telling the truth about how Senator Dingfelder, Senator Hass and Senator Alan Bates are trying to ramrod bad legislation through this 2013 session. How do you study the activity when you ban something not allowed for 5 years. This shows the lack of intelligence of the three senators mentioned or they are bought and paid for by the extreme environmental community. We need to see how much money the three liberals receive from this special interest group. We also need to look at conflicts of interest with some on this committee and prosecute them if they are in violation of Article II section 10 of Oregon's Constitution.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+9 #2 Retired USEPS ScientistGuest 2013-04-24 20:30:19
Senator Olsen, you are one of few I listened to on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee standing on the side of presenting a fair and honest process. I am really disappointed to see how this legislative committee is run. This was my first time following an important job bill in the senate and I could not believe how insensitive this handful of senators were to the many hard working small scale miners in our state. They ignored the relevant science piled against this bill and continued to blatantly spout false facts. Pure lies!
One very nice and open minded senator I met counseled us not to call the untruths being spread by some of his colleagues lies instead call them untrue it’s not such a pointed term. But as I see it if you say it once and you are shown a plethora of proof that it is an untrue statement and you continue to pass this information forward now you are Lying plain and simple.
There are many current studies concluding small scale suction dredging has less-than-signi ficant effects on the environment. Why spend Millions of dollars more of our tax dollars to get the same answer. Ask you legislators to vote No on SB 838 and SB 401.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+2 #3 Legal ViewGuest 2013-04-24 21:04:16
One might want to study all the legal cases that declare that a State can not dictate mining methods on Federal lands open to mineral entry and discovery.

Study "Spearfish Canyon" 8th District Court case and Supreme Court rulings that dictate a State can not restrict a fform of mining.

https://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F3/155/155.F3d.1005.97-3861.html
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+5 #4 minerGuest 2013-04-24 21:04:31
While I applaud Se. Olsen and his stand, I really have to take issue with the picture with the article. It shows the old Yuba dredge in the state park in Sumpter. Many will think that it is indicative of the type of dredging going on today, and nothing could be further from the truth. Most dredges today are 4 inch diameter or less, and well regulated by the state to protect habitat and all species of fish.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+3 #5 @Miner:Guest 2013-04-24 21:43:37
Thanks for the heads up. The photo now depicts small-scale suction dredge mining.
-Web Editor Emma Hall
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+4 #6 RE: Oregon lawmakers moonlight as amateur scientistsGuest 2013-04-24 22:18:33
Quote:
The bill calls for a scientific study of the practice's environmental impact to take place during the moratorium.
How can you study the impacts "during the moratorium"? To actualy study the effects of dredging dredging must take place.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+2 #7 M.E.G.Guest 2013-04-24 22:58:26
Jefferson Mining District Notice/Comment to SB401 and SB838

https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/17481

https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/17578


http://www.jeffersonminingdistrict.com/
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+6 #8 Research Biologist, USEPA Retired.Guest 2013-04-24 23:13:18
I have provided, in testimony to the legislature, that California just completed a $1.2 million dollar Environmental Impact Report that determined that small-scale gold suction dredging has a less-than-signi ficant effect on the environment. Nevertheless, the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources voted straight party line (Democrat) to shut down the $30 million dollar Oregon industry to give someone time to investigate this most environmentally safe practice of mining and, perhaps, spend a million plus dollars of Oregon taxpayer's money to investigate if small-scale gold dredging is harming the environment. They act as if they do not care about, nor do they review, the opposing scientific literature presented to them.

So, I will share a summary of the results of several major environmental impact reports that they choose, for political reasons, to ignore.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT SUMMARIES

Results from the 1992 Chugach National Forest, Alaska Report of Water Quality Cumulative Effects of Placer Mining. “This form of mining had a less than significant effect on the environment”.

Results from the 1994 Department of Fish & Game, California Final Environmental Impact Report. “This form of mining had a less than significant effect on the environment”.

Result from the 1999 U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies funded Impact of Suction Dredging on Water Quality, Benthic Habitat, and Biota in Forty Mile River, Resurrection Creek, and the Chatanika River, Alaska Study. “This form of mining had a less than significant effect on the environment”.

Bayley, 2003, (for Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon) Response of fish to cumulative effects of suction dredge and hydraulic mining in the Illinois subbasin. ” Cumulative suction dredge mining was found to be non-significant

Results from the 2001 Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon Draft Environmental Impact Report, Suction Dredging Activities. “This form of mining had a less than significant effect on the environment”.

Results from the 2004 Clearwater National Forest, Idaho Environmental Impact Supplemental Statement. “This form of mining had a less than significant effect on the environment”.

Results from the 2011 U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies Biological Evaluation Small Suction Dredge Placer Mining in Idaho. “This form of mining had a less than significant effect on the environment”.

Results from the 2012 Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Oregon FINAL Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. “This form of mining had a less than significant effect on the environment”.

Results from the 2012 Department of Fish & Game, California Subsequent Environmental Impact Report. “This form of mining had a less than significant effect on the environment”.

What more can I say. The evidence is very compelling that small-scale gold suction dredging has a less than significant effect on the environment and these Oregon Democrat legislators are not acting in the best interests of the taxpaying voters of Oregon.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+4 #9 Oregon residentGuest 2013-04-24 23:28:10
I have convinced 16 friends to register republican dump the democratic idiots.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+1 #10 boatmanGuest 2013-04-25 02:09:19
Thanks Senator Bates for excercising common sense on the small mining issues. I wish you would have excercised more common sense on the Waldo Lake motor issue. Please become informed before voting to ban people from respectfully and enviromentally responsibly using a resource.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+4 #11 LandlubberGuest 2013-04-25 02:54:47
Thank you Senator Olson.
Sorry to say that the Enviro-Fascist backed legislators of Oregon care nothing for Federal Mining Law, piles of case law or the will of the people. They are promoting their master's agenda. It's not really about mining, the Salmon , Spotted Owl or the Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizard (yes, that's really an endangered species!). It's about control, of us and the Public Land...I'm a California resident and we ...well you know the story...
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+1 #12 M.E.G.Guest 2013-04-25 15:24:01
http://www.takingliberty.us/TLHome.html

Taking Liberty is a comprehensive look at the lower 48 states showing, region by region, how the Environmental Movement is rapidly abolishing Private Property in America.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+1 #13 M.E.G.Guest 2013-04-25 15:57:47
SB401 and SB838 are just two of many Bills with the intention of adversely affecting private property.

SB 839; This Bill Is A Fraud Upon The People Of Oregon.
The Bill constitutes a plunderous Black Hole funding for a Corruption identified by its focus on “environmental benefits” which on its face appears benign enough, but in best practices are inimical to the public good and by unlawful exaction from granted property, without lawful state control or title.

Jefferson Mining District Notice/Comment:

https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1 ... ment/18433
https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1 ... ment/18436
https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1 ... ment/18437
https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1 ... ment/18439
https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1 ... ment/18444
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+2 #14 Eathan Mertz - Black Cat Mining.comGuest 2013-04-25 16:41:41
Senator Olsen,

Thank you for pointing out that this legislation is based strictly on "gut reaction". Thank you for pointing out that the science doesn't support the proposed legislation. Thank you for supporting my industry and the families that rely on it.

Let me take a moment to point out one of the other issues I find shocking about this legislation. SBs 838, 401, 370 and 115 all declare an emergency to exist. Thus the bills would take effect immediately upon passage. Take 401 as an example.

Imagine if 14,000 miles of streams instantly became scenic waterways, 14,000 miles of streams flowing across federal, state, county, municipal and private land, farm land, forest land, your neighbor's back garden. Imagine that instantly upon passage a quarter mile scenic easement was slapped down on either side of those 14,000 miles. Has anybody asked Ways and Means what that might cost the state to implement, to defend?

These bills are bad policy lacking scientific evidense, they're irresponsible in their immediacy and scope, they cross far too many lines where the state doesn't have the authority and they should never make it to the floor.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+1 #15 M.E.G.Guest 2013-04-25 18:34:54
Quoting Guest:
SB401 and SB838 are just two of many Bills with the intention of adversely affecting private property.

SB 839; This Bill Is A Fraud Upon The People Of Oregon.
The Bill constitutes a plunderous Black Hole funding for a Corruption identified by its focus on “environmental benefits” which on its face appears benign enough, but in best practices are inimical to the public good and by unlawful exaction from granted property, without lawful state control or title.

Jefferson Mining District Notice/Comment:

https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1 ... ment/18433
https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1 ... ment/18436
https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1 ... ment/18437
https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1 ... ment/18439
https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1 ... ment/18444


https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/18433
https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/18436
https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/18437
https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/18439
https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/18444
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #16 RE: Oregon lawmakers moonlight as amateur scientistsGuest 2013-04-26 13:37:00
When Allyn Ford and his insurrectionist sheriffs overthrow America, how much do you think they'll want to keep paying a legislature?
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+1 #17 GPAAGuest 2013-04-26 17:08:25
Thank you Sen. Alan Olsen for supporting the rights of small-scale miners. Please support the real scientists and not the environmental extremists and their political puppets.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
+1 #18 Agenda 21????Guest 2013-04-26 23:16:56
Another step along the Agenda 21 ladder? If not obviously it's a step along some enviro wacko groups ladder.

If you want to ban something bad for Oregon ban enviro groups. They aren't friends of anything but their own agenda. Even if it's not 21 but the environment is the tool used for both parts to fullfill their own agenda.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #19 Recent Comment of the Party by a Lifelong DemocratGuest 2013-04-29 00:09:20
We all know from history that when totalitarian forces, driven by their dysfunctional fury, seek to uproot the political establishment, they will use any means necessary. Bribery and character assassination are easy choices for them, even murder, because civilized limits are meaningless to the Stalins, Hitlers and Maos of the world. Their goal is to grab power, and “The Party” — whether Communist or Nazi — is the highest good. Loyalty to the party is everything because the party is the country.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #20 miningGuest 2013-06-25 19:51:49
its not just mining they are shuting down I have lived in Oregon my whole life I used to hunt bear a lions wuy hounds and sturgeon fish in the Columbia they shut all of that off and now mining all of this is what built our country and they call it the land of the free lol we might as wqell move to russia
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #21 RE: Oregon lawmakers moonlight as amateur scientistsGuest 2014-02-07 18:24:48
You want to see scientific evidence of the damage mining can do to a watershed? Investigate the Russian River. Granted larger gravel operations, but same/same in the long run. https://www.google.com/search?q=mining+destroys+rivers&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a Check out all that destruction. Get a clue. Buy a clue since you have all the big bucks. Get the Koch brothers to back you since you all have so much in common. Taking! We have spent billions trying to recover our salmon fishery and now you want to cover it all over with silt? Salmon cannot reproduce in silty environments. Their eggs suffocate. Your dreddings and tailings will only smother future salmon roe. Short term gain for the destruction of the fishery.....and you have the audacity to talk about 'takers.' Instead of bad mouthing the natural resource scientists, get yourself a biology degree, preferably not from ORU. Get your heads out of the sand. Take your mining to the desert where you don't impact our water resources. Our water resources are precious. They enable life. You want to destroy this. Bad critical thinking skills at play, along with thoughtless consideration of future generations.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #22 RE: Oregon lawmakers moonlight as amateur scientistsGuest 2014-02-07 19:10:59
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/10/081017-mongolia-mining-missions.html
Got science?
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #23 Re: Got science?Guest 2014-02-07 20:26:39
From the same National Geographic article, look at the caption below this photo:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/bigphotos/10277748.html

"Cranes dredge the headwaters of the Orhon River"

Aside from the photo being of excavators rather than cranes, compare that photo to the one in this article. Can you see a difference between the types of dredge mining discussed in the two articles?

Your science is one of comparing an apple to an orange orchard.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #24 More scienceGuest 2014-02-07 21:15:35
* "You want to see scientific evidence of the damage mining can do to a watershed?"

See post #8 above.

* "Salmon cannot reproduce in silty environments."

Please tell that to Mother Nature whose Spring runoff moves more silt than all the dredgers in Oregon combined have moved in the last century. Add to that the fact that dredge season in Oregon is scheduled to avoid spawning season and maybe you'll see why dredging has a less than significant impact.

* "Instead of bad mouthing the natural resource scientists, get yourself a biology degree, preferably not from ORU."

Again, see post #8 above. All those studies were done by scientists with all the proper degrees and credentials. These were not industry sponsored studies either.

* "Our water resources are precious. They enable life. You want to destroy this."

No, we want to continue to have no significant impact on it.

2012 saw 2500 (twenty-five hundred) dredge permit holders working a short season scheduled specifically to protect fish. For a little perspective, compare that to Oregon's 614,000 (six hundred and fourteen thousand) paid anglers in 2012. Oregon's salmon face a myriad of hazards from hydro power to agg runoff to over a half a million people a year out to hook 'em, but 2500 small scale miners shifting a little gravel in the Summer months doesn't even make the list.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Oversight? Or gaming the system?

News
Monday, July 14, 2014
AmazonBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.


Read more...

Attack of the Robin Sages

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 07, 2014
070714 thumb linkedinfakesBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.


Read more...

Who said we should sell in May?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, July 18, 2014
BullMarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”


Read more...

Blips and trends in the housing market

News
Thursday, June 26, 2014
062614 thumb realestateBY ERIC FRUTS | OB BLOGGER

Last year, the housing market in Oregon—and the U.S. as a whole—was blasting off. The Case-Shiller index of home prices ended the year 13% higher than at the beginning of the year. But, was last year a blip, or a trend?


Read more...

Q&A: David Lively of Organically Grown Co.

News
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
OGCLogoBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

Demand for organic food continues to soar: Last year, sales of organic food rose to $32.3 billion — up 10% from 2012. In Oregon, organic produce wholesaler Organically Grown Co. has been championing organic growing methods for four decades.


Read more...

Understanding Oregon medical marijuana dispensary tenants

News
Friday, June 13, 2014
061314 thumb grassrentBY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST BLOGGER

This article summarizes the key considerations a building owner must keep in mind when thinking about leasing to a medical marijuana dispensary.


Read more...

South Waterfront's revenge

News
Thursday, July 24, 2014
MoodyAveBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Remember the naysayers?  Those who called the South Waterfront aerial tram a boondoggle?  Those who rejoiced at the massive sell off of luxury condos at the John Ross and Atwater Place?


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS