by Lake County News-Chronicle
October 31, 2013 at 10:08 am in Lake County News-Chronicle
Tags: Opinion 1 Comment »
OK, let me get this straight: Nolan voted for a bill which by even the most simple analysis does not provide adequate short, interim and long term protection for the environment. That is, unless these “altruistic” mining companies take steps on their own, not required by the bill, to be sure mining is conducted in a truly environmentally responsible manner. This includes provisions for establishing cleanup fund balances adequate to address worst case long term scenarios.
For example, take only a small portion the St. Louis River basin now estimated to cost more than $300 million to address the impacts of sulphate pollution and methyl mercury availability contamination from iron mining activities. That $300 million, not including interest on the money, is the equivalent of 600 $50K/year jobs over ten years. We could have paid folks not to work and had a cleaner, safer living environment.
Whatever the case, those minerals will always be there for someone willing to operate on a smaller profit margin, while protecting the environment, to extract them. As the minerals become short in supply or more in demand, they will become even more valuable. Just what is the rush for a few hundred jobs?
Further, anyone who thinks these companies will patriotically stash the critical minerals for the exclusive use of the US is suffering from a “pipe dream”. These folks will sell to the highest payer, wherever they are in the world. That is, unless, the bill provides for strategic reserves to be kept by the US in the US.
For example, the proposed Keystone Pipeline is merely a way to get the tar sands oil to existing shipping ports already in the South. And also to refineries located there or elsewhere in the world.
Same with natural gas from fracking. Yet what does the girl in the TV ad imply? 100 years of supply for us here in the US…what a misleading advertisement. That gas is being shipped overseas to China and other developing countries.
I have nothing against mining if it is done right and with every effort to prevent possible damage to our environment. It must also be done reserving money for future impacts, cleanup and mitigation of damage we may not even be able to foresee at this time.
As a businessman, I know those minerals are valuable. In fact, they are valuable enough to generate the monies to offset ecologic impact. But as a businessman, I also know these companies will not take steps on their own to invest in strong environmental protections.
My disappointment in the willingness of our state representatives to take a legislative stand in favor of these protections continues to grow.
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