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Oregon lawmakers consider moratorium on motorized mining

By Yuxing Zheng
The Oregonian

Oregon lawmakers are considering a moratorium on suction-dredge mining in response to concerns that a growing number of recreational miners are causing harm to fish and rivers

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SALEM -- Oregon lawmakers are considering a moratorium on suction-dredge mining in response to concerns that a growing number of recreational miners are causing harm to fish and rivers.

The moratorium would ban motorized mining on the full length of rivers and creeks that contain habitat for ocean-traveling salmon and bull trout. The moratorium is estimated to affect 84 percent of the state's waterways and would run until January 2018.

"It's important to protect our streams and rivers not only for the aquatic ecosystem, but also for the substantial recreational and fishing resources they provide, which contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to Oregon's economy annually," said Forrest English, director of Rogue Riverkeeper in Ashland. "Expecting the citizens of Oregon to subsidize recreational mining activity and shoulder the burden of their damages, I think, is unfair."

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