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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: suction dredging

Suction dredging protest contrasts with Boise River agreement in Idaho’s ‘EPA divide’

Idaho Statesman reporter Rocky Barker has a report today on why the Fourth of July holiday protest at which hobby miners ran their suction dredges illegally in the Salmon River east of Riggins to decry EPA regulations didn’t turn into anything like the Cliven Bundy standoff in Nevada. Part of the reason: Idaho County Commissioner Jim Chmelik and other officials worked to make sure there was no confrontation, and the event drew no uniformed federal agents, armed militia members or national news media.

But Barker reports that event was in great contrast to another in Boise at which longtime EPA critic Rep. Mike Simpson praised the federal agency for “looking outside their rulebook” in developing the Dixie Drain Phosphorous Offset Project, a program to clean phosphorus pollution from the Boise River while also saving money for Boise residents and farmers. You can read his full report here, which is headed, “Idaho’s EPA Divide.”

Suction dredge miners plan July 4 protest on Salmon River

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — Idaho County commissioners have sent a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management asking for guidance concerning a protest planned by suction dredgers upset with federal regulations. “The parties involved wish to respectfully exercise their right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances,” the letter reads. “They have informed us they will be respectful and orderly in this event and are seeking guidance from the BLM for a successful event.”

Robin Boyce, acting manager for the Cottonwood Field Office, said the BLM is working on a response to the event planned on the Salmon River in central Idaho near Riggins around the Fourth of July, the Lewiston Tribune ( reported Tuesday. “We are still trying to figure out how this would work and when and if it is possible on BLM property,” Boyce said. John Crossman of the Southwest Idaho Mining Association of Boise said the dredgers plan to run their equipment in the Salmon River. He said the goal of the protest is to remove the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from the state.

EPA issues new suction dredge mining rules, includes closure of Salmon River main stem

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a new permit and rules for recreational miners who use small-scale suction dredging equipment to explore for gold in rivers and creeks across Idaho, the AP reports.The new rules include an outright closure on the Salmon River, main stems of the state's biggest rivers and waters passing through all tribal lands. The federal permit — the first of its kind for Idaho — was designed to ensure miners adhered to the Clean Water Act and protect water quality and spawning habitat for salmon, steelhead, bull trout and other species yet still provide opportunities for the hundreds of recreational miners that set up on Idaho's rivers and streams each summer and fall; click below for a full report from AP reporter Todd Dvorak.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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