Gold miners are not happy with proposed water quality rules related to elevated mercury levels in the Rogue River.
The Mail Tribune (http://bit.ly/PqVqcw) reports miners at a hearing Monday in Medford said they are being blamed for a problem that is not their fault. Miners added that the suction dredges they use to filter gold from gravel on river bottoms also pick up mercury and remove it.
A toxin, mercury is found in nearly all fish, but tests on resident northern pike minnow in the Rogue found levels 10 times higher than state standards. The source is not certain, but could be the soils or old mines.
The state is on track to list 216 miles of the Rogue as mercury-impaired, leading to more stringent and expensive permitting for miners.