by Lake County News-Chronicle
November 15, 2013 at 4:26 am in Lake County News-Chronicle
Tags: letter to the editor, Opinion 2 Comments »
The writer presents an interesting perspective on controversial view. Lets weigh the sulphide mining opinion against some facts on past iron mining activity in the Arrowhead region:
Iron mining was done with what were supposed to be fairly responsible ecological respect and regulation in its later years. Early years were as freewheeling as the old west days of gold extraction, with gold’s resultant mercury and cyanide pollution of surrounding land and waters. Yet, the effect of iron mining’s activities has been, among other things, sulphate runoff and pollution of the St Louis River basin. Sulphate pollution of water makes methyl mercury more available to aquatic lifeforms, and hence mercury becomes a higher level contaminate in fish people eat. Mercury contamination in many babies born in the Arrowhead area now exceeds federal guidelines for safety.
The mercury is present in fallout from coal power plant smokestack emissions that finds its way to the Arrowhead area.
The cleanup of only a small portion of the St. Louis River basin as it enters Lake Superior was recently estimated at around $300 million. How do we relate to this? Pretty easy in my book: We could have paid 600 people $50,000/year for 10 years not to work and reduced the environmental cleanup impact. The total cost of cleaning the Arrowhead environment is really hundreds of millions more. Paying people not to work would have been just as economically effective, but far better for our health and environment.
If this copper and other metals are that valuable and scarce, and we have a big chunk of the supply, then what is the rush to do the job so quickly ( in business-speak, “cheaply”)? Eventually, there will be enough demand to justify any cost getting the stuff out of the ground…including strong regulatory protection and cash reserves for possible cleanup.
Right now we cannot possibly compete on a production cost basis with third world countries the international mining industry is taking advantage of. In these countries there are low wages, sometimes non-existent environmental protections, minimal infrastructure costs and so on. Why let these inyernational companies convince us to compete on the basis of bringing our advanced society standards down to third world levels, only in the interest of benefiting mining company bottom lines?
I am for mining done in responsible, environmentally protected, and modern methods. But, it must be done the right way for all the right reasons. A portion of the profits must be reserved for any potential cleanup. After all, we have much to lose and little to gain if these new mining proposals are allowed to proceed in any other way.
Like or Dislike: 6 0
I-NSA? Give us all a break, please. There should be no “sacrifice” with regard to anything related to these mining proposals. Do it right or not at all. Or simply wait until someone willing to do it right comes on the scene.
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