SACRAMENTO (April 16, 2012) - Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) today announced that Assembly Bill (AB) 2509 was passed with strong support in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. This bill allows for an exemption in the State Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA), specifically allowing for the excavation or grading of lands affected by a flood or natural disaster.
"I feel very strongly that hard-working farmers and ranchers should be allowed to remove and possibly sell the excess material deposited on their lands to offset costs associated with removing it from their crop-lands," said Nielsen. "There shouldn't be any limits on the amount of material a property owner can remove from their property through excavation or grading for the purposes of farming and/or flood control. The value of removal affects all who live in and around flood-prone areas."
Nielsen said that under the existing law, only a one-time exemption is allowed for certain surface mining operations and it does not provide enough flexibility for landowners to remove materials that have been deposited on their lands. AB 2509 clarifies the law, to allow landowners to remove the unwanted materials and sell them without being considered a mining operation. Nielsen says that lands filled with debris, especially in high flood risk areas like Sutter and Yuba Counties, need to be restored as quickly as possible, so as not to further endanger lives and property.