by Lake County News-Chronicle
December 6, 2013 at 8:15 am in Lake County News-Chronicle
Tags: mining, Opinion 3 Comments »
A recent “folksy” commentary in another paper, by Gerald M. Tyler, Executive Director of Up North Jobs, Inc., extended an invitation to Bill Carter to “present a science based argument explaining why the PolyMet copper mining operation will harm the Boundary Waters Canoe Area”. Gerald seemed to imply since the waters of the Embarrass and Partridge rivers actually empty into Lake Superior, how could any damage be done? He also used Miners Lake as an example of “water pure enough to support a trout fishery”.
Anyone tested the mercury levels in Miners Lake fish?
Gerald says he couldn’t dislike a guy like Bill, who apparently drinks whiskey and plays poker. Bill must be feeling, after reading Gerald’s letter, how could he dislike a guy who apparently hasn’t seen the state report estimating it could take up to $300 million or so to clean up a small portion of the St. Louis River polluted over the years by sulphates from iron mining runoff. You know, sulphates are the stuff which frees up methyl mercury in the environment so it can enter the aquatic food chain.
Wonder if all that mercury is some of the same stuff ending up, at levels far exceeding the federal minimums, in the tissues of a high percentage of newborn babies in the Arrowhead region? That form of mercury is the serious stuff which causes brain developmental and other incapacitating damage. But, what the heck, that’s just one of those inconsequential results of iron mining that just wasn’t foreseen back in the good old days. Who would have thought all the emissions dropping out of the sky from coal fired power plants to our West would have mixed with those innocent sulphate mining runoffs, and caused such a stir?
I wonder how much money it would take to clean up the rest of the St. Louis River, and Lake Superior, so the fish caught there would be safe for pregnant women and kids to eat? I suppose it doesn’t matter to some folks if sulphides from copper and precious metals mining are added to the mix. I mean, how much worse off than they are could Lake Superior and its fresh water feeder streams get?
Hey, my only folksy response to Gerald would be this: I invite you to give all of us just one single example of “sulphide” mining anywhere in the world where an environmental and health safety issue hasn’t arisen. Maybe Gerald and Bill could make their presentations at the same good ol’ town hall meeting, so we could we could all weigh those elusive facts together?
Now that would really be something to look forward to.
Like or Dislike: 11 1
Mr. Broin…I am sure you intended that Rep. Jason Metsa, (DFL) 06B, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken also appear at that meeting? By making some minerals targeted as strategic, I am sure that means the door can be opened at some time to less stringent mining regulations than normal for those “strategic” resources.
Clearly, none of us are against having well paying jobs in the area. But those jobs must be accompanied by appropriate human and environmental safeguards. At least one of PolyMet’s major investor companies has not demonstrated their willingness to do that voluntarily in other non-regulated mining areas of the world. This should be a red flag to our regulators and residents of the Northland.
Like or Dislike: 8 1
Let’s say the state were to require more fact based accountability for meeting stringent environmental and health safety standards, and PolyMet didn’t want to spend the money to properly address those demands. What is PolyMet going to do? Move its mining operations to another state with less stringent regulation?
Someone else will step in and take PolyMet’s place if the value of those resources is that great. In fact, if those resources are really strategic, you can confidently bet your last dollar someone will step in.
And, if the new “strategic resources” bill really does its job, the majority of those products will be required to be used and stockpiled in the US. How much do you want to bet they will be minable and actually saleable outside the country? We should be using other countries resources and saving our own as long as we can. These folks are smart, Brian, and they set each step in place for the next profit-making move.
If I were convinced this were really about jobs and benefit to the local economy, and more about not putting public health and environmental welfare at risk, I’d feel a lot better. So far, no one has set my mind at ease about any of these concerns.
Like or Dislike: 6 1
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