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Thread: Suction dredging: the politics of getting what you need instead of what you want?

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  1. #1
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    Suction dredging: the politics of getting what you need instead of what you want?

    Here's an idea. It isn't about defeating the Guvmint, since that probably won't happen, and what's worse it isn't what suction dredgers want. But it might represent a compromise that is politically doable and doesn't simply kill suction dredging.

    I am not involved with suction dredging and so don't know how practical this might be. Obviously it won't replace 5 HP motors. But it might be a compromise that works as opposed to one where you want to win a fight that you ain't gonna win. So hear me out, this is (as far as I know) an out-of-the box idea in a place where the in-the-box ideas don't seem to be making much headway.

    *********************

    Does suction dredging harm fish habitat? Heck, I don't know, there arguments on both sides. But no politician (as far as I know) has the guts to argue that gold panning harms fish habitat. And, in the big picture of fish habitat, only a few areas are worthwhile for gold suction dredging so obviously suction dredging is not the new Monitor and booming environmental wasteland. I regard fish habitat as worth protecting, and simply on the basis of area affected by recreational gold suction dredging, the activity probably has little overall impact even if locally it's a mess (which I'm not arguing that it is because I don't know, I'm pointing out that the knee-jerk environmentalist argument that it does create a local disaster area can be accepted for the sake of argument and still not lead to a conclusion that the activity should be banned.)

    Accepting the knee-jerk env-arg just to break the ice, can possibly lead to fruitful discussion about balance between hypothetical environmental destruction of a minimal nature balanced against another activity. The problem the knee-jerk environmentalists will have with this, is that they don't see a social value in the "other activity", and the objective of the knee-jerkers is to preserve and reclaim a past which realistically speaking has no identifiable "ideal state" which could be maintained as a status quo. Environments change even in the absence of human activity, and knee-jerk environmentalists themselves are human activity who for the most part (if I may be permitted some hyperbole) do not live like primitive aborigines in balance with environment. I doubt that one could find an honest one among them, it's all hypocrisy.

    A person can be a devout environmentalist and still despise the knee-jerk fundamentalists of the movement. Unfortunately the knee-jerk club is obsessed with being in control of everyone else and that obsession drives them to positions of power. You may not like this but that's how it really is. You won't change what they are (since they're not really interested in science based reason, it's all about them being in control). But, they don't own the entire government, and getting something rather than nothing from the bureaucrats caught in the middle will probably require formulating a position that makes sense to almost anybody and disarms the knee-jerk club. Here goes. You won't like it, but consider the alternatives.

    ************

    Begin with the argument that what is at stake is recreational mining. It's just another outdoor activity like many of the things that even the knee-jerk club like to do. Nobody enjoys the outdoors without leaving footprints.

    I don't live in California any more, but so many people do recreational panning in California (and the activity has so much business support in the Mother Lode country) that I suppose recreational panning is pretty much untouched from an environmentalist perspective. The restrictions that exist are (I suppose) property issues which is legally a whole different animal.

    When you put the activity in the framework of recreation, then a bit of gain is fine (in the case of recreational mining it's just as essential as it is with fishing, nobody regards fishing as recreation in a place where catching fish is either impossible or illegal!). But it's not an economic activity like commercial fishing which is almost entirely prohibited in inland waters.

    From the perspective of a knee-jerk clubber, motorized suction dredging is not recreational mining because it is motorized (the gas engine is doing your recreation for you) and because the "bigger is better" nature of suction dredging makes it look like an economic activity where the whole purpose is to come out ahead on the deal, as opposed to pursuing the golden dream as a form of entertainment.

    I gather that in the past, there have been attempts to place a technological lid on suction dredging by limiting the size of the nozzle. Actually, I think that was a pretty good way of approaching the problem-- easy to define, easy to enforce-- but as we all know that didn't make the controversy go away. There are still those gasoline engines that don't look like recreation, and worse yet look like polluters; and the suspicion that an honest citizen might actually find enough gold to pay for the supplies needed in the operation and have enough left over for a cup of coffee at the end of the season. .....Did I mention gasoline engines? They hate gasoline engines!

    The nozzle size thing might have worked in a rational world, but y'all are not dealing with rational people, you're dealing with the knee-jerk club for whom reason is irrelevant, and politicians who may not be opposed to reason but they're ill-informed and have trouble grasping issues that are framed in the wrong sort of arguments for their ears. The Mother Lode business establishment is substantial, and can provide economic arguments in favor of recreational mining. Most politicians understand money, at least as political pressure if not as something to be spent wisely.

    That brings us back to the science & technology stuff that the knee-jerk environmentalist club is so fond of beating their drums on. They hate gasoline engines. Never mind all the reasons why this is so and why they're so fixated on it, you won't change that. The problem is how to use their fixation to disarm them.

    Drop the whole thing about suction nozzle size. Politically, it didn't work. It wasn't something you could hang any kind of science on, it was arbitrary. It was eminently practical, but it didn't address the underlying philosophical political conflicts. I'm sorry.

    Instead ...... get a grip....... take gasoline engines off the table. If you don't, they will, in fact a case could be made that they already have. You can suction dredge with Chrysler Hemi if you can suction dredge at all, but the problem is that suction dredging is being banned!

    Gasoline engines are problems anyhow, especially with carbon monoxide and fuel and oil contamination issues.

    Embrace the "recreation" argument. And I don't mean insincerely, I mean if it's all about coming ahead at the end of the season you are going to screw it up for everyone including yourself. Once you grasp the fact that what stands a chance of flying in the statehouse is a political understanding of suction dredging as being like panning (but more serious diehard recreation than panning), then it changes the political turf on which the thing is playing out and it also changes what suction dredgers are doing. Pointedly, it accepts that those suction dredgers who are demanding things that are screwing it up for everyone else, will be marginalized. I am not saying that I have a personal objection to someone who's coming ahead at the end of the season and that's motivating them, I'm merely pointing out what the political reality is: suction dredging is being banned and the notion that you can buy a flag and a gun and make everything go the way you want it is a dead end.

    The pump can be human-powered. That's about a 1/4 horsepower pump, if you've got a sturdy friend available. Obviously a small nozzle, but you can do stuff that panners can't do. With it being human powered, it's obviously recreation, not a deal where how much you get is a matter of how much horsepower you throw at it.

    But wait! Half the knee-jerkers drive Priuses, and they're not real electrics, they have gasoline engines! And given the cost of manufacturing a Prius, the things are probably an environmental negative stacked up against a Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris, plain vanilla cars that do the job and save you gobs of money by not having to "make a statement".

    So in addition to a human-powered pump, you can use an electric powered pump run by batteries not connected to a recharging source other than solar panels. And the batteries have to weigh less than (say) 100 pounds. This is kind of like the nozzle thing, it's arbitrary, but people can agree on what it actually is, and that's an essential. As everyone knows, rechargeable battery technology is not up against a brick wall, but it is a challenging set of compromises which serve as equalizers. Lead-acid wet cells still power golf carts, and lithium cells would power cars if anybody could afford enough lithium to do the job. In the field, 100 pounds of batteries limits either the size of the nozzle or the amount of time you can spend underwater. (Oversimplification, but that's the most fundamental tradeoff.) Since this is a recreational activity (remember!), that sort of tradeoff and the others that go along with it are just part of the territory. If you want a set of rules that draw the line at how much gold you can get for dollar invested, no such set of rules is possible, and in the context of recreational activity it's even irrelevant.

    Now about that solar thing... solar (unlike other recharging sources) is allowed to run in parallel with the battery. Good panels put out about 1 horsepower of juice per 70 square feet. That's twice the area of a legal minimum bathroom floor including the area occupied by the water appliances. At present day prices, that's about $3,000 worth of solar panels, installed in full sun and aimed more or less at the sun. To put this in perspective, a 300 amp-hour 12 volt battery (big lead-acid, I'm guessing 50 pounds?) can deliver 1 horsepower for about 5 hours and you can probably get one for less than $100.

    The technological beauty of the battery and/or solar thing is that it represents a flexible horsepower compromise, the economics of which preclude commercial mining but which encourage creativity in recreational mining, even to the point of advancing power management technology, a subject matter very dear to Silicon Valley (which still has some political clout). The power problems faced by suction dredging under that set of limitations serve as a model for many power management problems around the world, problems that until now have mostly been fought at the less than 100 watt (approx. 1/7 horsepower) level. The other end of the deal has been the "living off-grid" model with a roof covered with $10,000 or more in solar cells and a highly specialized electric system, not exactly a model for a world in which there aren't going to be very many houses in rural areas off-grid and owned by people who are so wealthy that they can do a conventional off-grid thing. The future of electric power worldwide is less horsepower and more independence and acceptance of the fact the grid isn't available 24 hours a day guaranteed. Recreational mining as I've described above is a great app for development of the future of global power, and it's less than 200 miles away from Silicon Valley.

    You folks in California, this is up to you. The center of Silicon Valley, the home of the California Mother Lode, the center of the suction dredging controversy, a statewide political climate favorable to environmental issues expressed in the right way, and an economic crisis demanding that someone or someones come up with things that economic sense for the future, initiatives that can actually be funded.

    Economic crises happen because nobody can figure out how to spend money in a way that makes profit; or, they can but they haven't got the money. What I have proposed is an economic initiative that makes sense on a global scale and the money to drive its development will come from recreational miners who are begging for the right to spend the money out of their own pockets!

    ***************

    And that's my spiel du jour. Those who wish to argue with me, I suggest remembering who it is that is combatting suction dredging, and it isn't me! I hope there's some serious debate over how to deal with the political realities and come up with solutions that can benefit everyone.

    --Dave J.

  2. #2
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    us
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    Quote Originally Posted by woof! View Post

    I am not involved with suction dredging and so don't know how practical this might be.

    *********************

    Does suction dredging harm fish habitat? Heck, I don't know,

    ***************


    Begin with the argument that what is at stake is recreational mining.

    ***************


    --Dave J.

    Sorry Dave ..... I know you spent a lot of time thinking about this, but really the "Recreation" aspect is not the way to address the problem.
    The battle will be won on the economic side whereby folks lively hoods and not their recreation is at stake.


    Studies have proven that suction dredging has no adverse affect on fish habitat over time and actually improves it.
    Last edited by Goodyguy; Aug 12, 2012 at 11:13 AM.
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  3. #3

    May 2005
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    good morning Dave! i dont want to argue either!! and your idea/concept of trying to find a way/answer is good! BUT it doesent come up to snuff! you say the wacos dont like gas engines,but they like their boats! and this deal about "recreational",the 1866/1872 mining laws dont refer to anything "recreational", only the powers tobe want to keep putting this "word" into the papers and courts. yes there are recreational propsectors out there but they arent covered under any mining laws! small scale miners and big mining companys all over the States are affected by these "rules/lies" that the wacos are force feeding the biased Cal.courts .when they end all mining in the good ole USA where will they buy their raw materials from to build the electric cars (lead for the batteries,or their titanium,iron ore,ETC), from foreign lands!and how much will our great Country pay for these raw minerals so that everyone can have their A/C,electric for their computors,oil for their cars, lawnmowers ETC> if it aint grown, it has tobe mined! and once all of the "bad habits" of every American have been forced to stop, what will be the next thing these wacos will want?? agenda 21 is comeing and its at full steam right now! and those that dont fight for their rights have already lost them! but thanks for atleast trying to get some of us thinking about whats next!

  4. #4
    us
    Feb 2012
    Prather CA
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    It is not the way minors dredges, it is in fact that we dredge. As I understand it, there are no more work arounds, no solar or gravity dredging allowed. There has never been a contention that the motors are the problem, in there eyes we are the problem. It does not matter that there is NO scientific evidence to support their contention, it only matter is that this is the way the feel, and because they are good intentioned elitist, there is no consequences to them for being wrong. This is the ruling class, excercising their power over one group, through the back door. A dirty deal that was never voted on in committee in the legislature, and was tacked on to the budget that legally had to be signed. It is dirty politics at its finest. It is my hope that anyone who was involved in this is sent packing in the next election. JMHO
    "The most inspiring thing about gold, is not the value, but under magnification, the true beauty of each piece. They are truly like snowflakes that never melt." Oakview2 Fly EAGLE Fly......

  5. #5
    us
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    there is no such thing as recreational mining!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!and as goodguy and russau are pointing out the mining laws are not in place to protect recreation they are there to protect industry and the industrious. The main problem is that we dont live in an industrious environment in California. We, live in a litigious and lazy society. and since people are easilly fooled into believing that all the gold was found and it was so environmentally destructive back in the day that it is unnescesarry now and harmful now, even though you can drive past how many incomplete commercial developments and empty commercial suites from the bay to the foothills?? lands stripped environments changed and not even helping our population at this point... but you bet taxes were paid, permits were pulled, studies paid for and all it did was put money into private sector developers, and the coffers of the counties all to be squandered by elected officials and contractors who still live in very nice houses.and there are a lot of men out of work now because of it and the greed that breeds it. You cant even sale tools to pawn shops anymore. this is in no way about recreation it is about the fewer and fewer out there like me that supplement or make a living sweating and bleeding our way through the gravel and calling bullshit and being told by rapists that we are destroyers and killers. Woof, I am surprised considering your industry background and connection to one of the most misjudged and regulated "recreations" especially since detectorist worth their salt are such awesome historians, arceologists, and natural history teachers....so please don't downgrade our fight.....or industry...by telling others the way to back out of it and give up. BTW gravity dredging is LEGAL!!!!!!!
    Last edited by Goldwasher; Aug 12, 2012 at 10:47 PM.

  6. #6

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    Well said Pville
    M.X.T , Tesoro Tejon



    "A pen in the hand of this president is far more dangerous than a gun in the hands of 200 million law-abiding citizens."

  7. #7
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    ciudadano del universo, residente de El Paso TX
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    If there's no such thing as "recreational mining", then the tree-huggers may as well get it banned. Easy as heck, too, since nobody would care and there'd be no opposition.

    --Dave J.

  8. #8
    us
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    Way to miss the point Dave. it isnt tree huggers...or "waco-enviros or any agenda.....that this is about it is about the taking of others rights for what seems like nothing other than doing so. and that is why so many in mining circles and hunting circles( wich i also believe shouldn't be deemed recreation unless we want to lose it too....) and other people who try to do what there ancestors did wich is make their own way are so frustrated we are a minority against an uneducated majority... Ignorant by definition actually...and even though it has been proven by science that rivers and streams in California are in Better shape than they have been in recent history.....and are in better shape than rivers and streams in other states who's rivers have worse problems and guess what NOOOOO gold to even dredge...so where is the argument...there isn't one there are two sides fighting it out and one side is bold face.....back stabbing cheating.....and they want people to think and act exactly like you Dave so they can win before they get caught cheating by a judge who actually does his job.Never give up fellas.

  9. #9
    us
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    This whole affair is personal on the level where the environmentalists stand THEY HATE DREDGERS and they've made it political by paying off politicians to pass laws, add bills to other bills is the way they've done this with no way of stopping those bills ( trailers). The moratorium now is said to be due to lack of state funds to police us, bottom line we're DONE and this tactic will be done in other states .

  10. #10
    LRL fraud debunked

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    ciudadano del universo, residente de El Paso TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by pvillehunter View Post
    they want people to think and act exactly like you Dave so they can win before they get caught cheating by a judge who actually does his job.Never give up fellas.
    Now, that's creativity!

  11. #11
    LRL fraud debunked

    Dec 2010
    ciudadano del universo, residente de El Paso TX
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    Well, the thread ain't done yet, but so far it looks like the hypocrite radical leftist tree-huggers are being given a free ride. I hoped for better.

    Telling millions of recreational gold miners that they don't even exist-- there's a couple of guys here whom I dearly hope aren't members of the GPAA!

    --Dave J.

  12. #12
    LRL fraud debunked

    Dec 2010
    ciudadano del universo, residente de El Paso TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by vini View Post
    This whole affair is personal on the level where the environmentalists stand THEY HATE DREDGERS and they've made it political by paying off politicians to pass laws, add bills to other bills is the way they've done this with no way of stopping those bills ( trailers). The moratorium now is said to be due to lack of state funds to police us, bottom line we're DONE and this tactic will be done in other states .
    Vini, I haven't followed the suction dredging thing very closely, since I don't live in California nor do I customarily do water mining nor am I involved in politics. I'm in the metal detector industry and a member of the GPAA. That's how the suction dredging thing comes onto my radar screen, and that's why it concerns me that small-scale miners are being bamboozled by the radical leftist tree-huggers as well as the corporate mining interests.

    It's my perception that the radical leftist tree-huggers manage to exert their influence in the statehouse more by political activism than by dumping huge amounts of money on politicians (which the large-scale mining industry is better equipped to do). To me it looks like an unholy alliance: corporate mining industry investors and radical leftist tree-huggers working out alliances behind the scenes while they attack the 99% who don't understand what's going on.

    When you say that "THEY HATE DREDGERS", that's not the whole story, but that certainly shows insight into the problem. Dredgers work hard and get wet and dirty, all for fun and a little gain if they get lucky. The radical leftist tree-huggers deny that fun and a little gain are worthwhile objectives, they're humorless academics who have a meal ticket and look down their snoots at people who work less than for minimum wage of their own volition. I'm not in the middle of the thing, that's only the smell I get from the periphery. Someone tell me if I got that wrong.

    In this short thread, you've already seen examples of how dredgers lose out. They still want to win the "dredging is good for fish habitat" when the truth of the matter is that a good winter storm changes habitat a thousand times more than the dredgers have done meanwhile. To argue whether dredging is good or bad for fish habitat is a debate created by the hypocrites to deceive dredgers, and they've fallen for it. .....And the argument that the whole recreational mining thing in California doesn't even exist-- I can't imagine why a person would even make such a bizarre argument! They sure the heck won't make that argument in Sacramento, anyone who is a GPAA member will drag them away and give them a Greyhound ticket to Louisiana.

    --Dave J.
    Last edited by woof!; Aug 13, 2012 at 05:09 AM.

  13. #13

    May 2005
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    Dave youve missed the point!

  14. #14
    us
    May 2009
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    I grew up in southern california......just north of Temecula. I went to school with Tom Masseys nephew. I got into gold prospecting because they came to our school ad showed us a bunch of awesome gear and also told us we could find gold in the hills behind our houses and we did and i have been hooked since...that was like 1987...i was in like 4th or 5th grade....I have been a G.P.A.A twice since and am not all that impressed anymore and am not that fond of Tom.....I don't really think he and his father are on the same page....and you bet. your butt that if they have to pull up stakes totally and go to Alaska fultime they will....as they are 90% there already.....they have not put the fight in they should have as far as the ban goes and if ever there was an orginazation with national recognition and connection to the industry that could really orginize " Small Scale Mining"(...thanks for using the correct term finally) its them....and they have fell way short without even trying think of what they could have done if they focused an the activism you speak of and claim is the tool the otherside is supposedly using.

  15. #15
    LRL fraud debunked

    Dec 2010
    ciudadano del universo, residente de El Paso TX
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    There are radical leftist environmentalists in California. And a lot of small-scale gold mining esp. of a recreational nature. And a lot of complaining about the former.

    I've assumed, perhaps wrongly, that the government war against suction dredging (and more broadly against just about anything that people do outdoors) was ideologically driven.

    However another possibility is that it isn't ideologically driven, it's just government bureaucrats looking for something to do, and since they can't find anything actually useful to do, they ban stuff just because they can.

    If it's ideologically driven, then intelligent politicking might help counteract it. However, if it's just bureaucrats who don't give a darn about anything banning stuff just because they can, I'm not sure how one might go about getting them shipped to Louisiana.

    Perhaps someone who is actually familiar with what's going on in Sac will comment on whether it's basically ideological or if it's basically just self-serving bureaucrats who believe it's their job to get people under control.

    --Dave J.

 

 
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