GPAA, Brad Jones, 12/15/2014
Ochoa clears legal hurdles, set to rule in California dredging case
Miners and their opponents squared off again in California Superior Court Dec. 12 to make their cases for and against suction dredging mining in California.
The hearing was part of the ongoing Mandatory Settlement Conference that Judge Gilbert Ochoa ordered May 1 last year in an attempt to resolve the legal battle over suction dredge mining, which was banned by the state more than five years ago.
Miners argue that the state has no authority to ban suction dredge mining under the federal Mining Law of 1872 and the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which declares that federal law is the supreme law of the land.
The settlement conference is the culmination of years of litigation involving more than a half-dozen or so consolidated lawsuits that are being heard by Ochoa in San Bernardino.
Ironically, a separate case, the Brandon Rinehart case has become pivotal in the decision.