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Mining regulation changes are intention of Bates' bill

By Mark Freeman
Mail Tribune

Bill would water down protections for rivers passed in 2013

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State Sen. Alan Bates introduced a bill Friday that he says will make "reasonable changes" to new suction dredge-mining laws set to go into effect this summer for two years while the state grapples with how to permanently regulate these operations.

Bates, D-Medford, introduced Senate Bill 1585 Friday seeking what he says are amendments miners and environmental advocates sought to a controversial law governing suction mining through 2015.

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But at least one supporter of the new suction-dredge restrictions believes Bates' legislative fix favors mining interests.

"This is trying to fix a few things that the mining community was unhappy about in the new law," says Forrest English of the Rogue Riverkeeper Program based in Ashland.

English says he will ask to work with Bates to get a more balanced package of changes to the new law.

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