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Gov’s Budget Good For Mercury Removal Here

Governor Brown’s budget plan is also a major boost for water quality efforts in the sierra foothills. He’s proposing $14.5 million to remove pollutants from historic mining activities at Empire Mine and Malakoff Diggins State Parks, as well as Mt. Diablo State Park. The largest investment is a one-time appropriation of $8.2 to implement a remediation plan being developed for Malakoff Diggins. Sierra Fund CEO Elizabeth Martin says the focus is on removing mercury contamination. She says better technology in recent years has provided a much better idea of how much has run off from the Gold Rush-era hydraulic mining pit into the river…

click to listen to Elizabeth Martin

Martin says the main health threat from high mercury levels is to the food chain, including fish and the larger predators that eat the fish. Meanwhile, the Governor is also proposing $6.1 million to develop facilities to remove and treat mercury-laden sediment derived from abandoned gold mines at Combie Reservoir. Nevada Irrigation District General Manager Rem Scherzinger says this would allow the District to eventually resume removing sands and gravels which have released mercury into the water….

click to listen to Rem Scherzinger

Scherzinger is referring to the state’s Natural Resources Secretary, John Laird. Sediment removal allows NID to maintain storage capacity at the reservoir. Brown’s proposal is just one of many during the Legislature’s approval process for the State Budget.

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