A San Bernardino County Superior Court judge is expected to rule within the next 90 days on a lawsuit over a statewide ban on motorized suction dredging by gold prospectors.
The decision could affect hobbyists throughout the state, including dozens of people who work small claims in the Mother Lode.
Miners have been prohibited from using motorized suction dredges to extract gold from the state's rivers and streams since 2009.
"It wasn't clear which way the judge was inclined to go, so we will see how he rules," said Jonathan Evans, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity and the Karuk Tribe, which are both pushing for tougher regulations on mechanical dredging.
The New 49'ers Inc., a group that owns eight mining claims in Siskiyou County, is suing the state over the ban and proposed restrictions. The group argues the moratorium has impactedpeople's ability to effectively mine their claims.
For the complete story, see the May 6, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.