California became a state because of its mineral wealth. People from around the world flocked to the gold fields of central California and turned over the earth in the promise of riches to come. Small towns sprouted up and a continuous stream of people flowed into the state. The gold rush lasted a few years and, what had been a geographically isolated area on the west coast of North America, was suddenly home to 300,000 residents.
This analysis provides an overview of the proposed changes to the California Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) which are presented in Senate Bill 1270 (Pavley). Senator Fran Pavely of Senate District 27 is carrying the bill. District 27 covers Malibu, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Moorpark and parts of Santa Clarita and the San Fernando Valley. Sen. Pavley is also the Chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water. The bill is sponsored by the Sierra Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the Sierra Nevada and they are located in Nevada City, California.
EnviroMINE conducted a survey of lead agencies to determine the amount each charge to implement their Surface Mining and Reclamation Act of 1975 (SMARA) program. SMARA requires lead agencies review proposed mining applications for land use permits and/or reclamation plans (or amendments thereto), submit reclamation plans and financial assurances to the State for technical review and comment prior to approval, annually review financial assurances, annually inspect mining operations for compliance, and take enforcement actions where necessary. Section §2207(e) of SMARA indicates the lead agency may impose a fee upon each mining operation to cover the reasonable costs incurred by implementing the program.