Any one who has traveled up the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River these days understands that the oil being transported along the river through small towns in bluff country (sometimes 100 trains each day) will eventually spill … whether it is from tracks that are overburdened, or in need of repair, or human failure. It is inevitable. And so it goes, a spill this week. One need only stand in a store as the trains thunder through town at 60 miles an hour, maybe two to four an hour during the day and you would not be surprised. This is a tragedy that can be circumvented, if we stop relying on fossil fuel and clean up our act. There are other things that once begun, can never be remedied.
On that note, the FEIS for the Polymet Mine proposal or, officially:
NorthMet Mining and Land Exchange Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS)
has come out this week and is available at:
I will be reviewing this paper over the never 30 days that we are allowed to review and comment considering these points:
- Why talk of who will clean up the environmental degradation from copper mining when, in fact, cleanup at this level would be impossible for anyone at any cost?
- Once the miners have left, what will remain of the wilderness and the waterways, the wildlife, the flora, among these, the wild rice?
- What will happen to the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area and the potential for a viable tourist industry?
- What of the wild and scenic rivers of the north and Lake Superior? the Saganagaw? the Rainy River?….
- Every mine leaves tailings ponds … like those in Silver Bay, along the Laurentian Divide and Giants Ridge, at Hull Rust Mine and others. What clean up is possible once begun? Pollution from these enterprises has already reached into the BWCA, down the Mississippi and into Lake Superior. With a coal plant in Silver Bay, the effects of acid rain can be seen along the North Shore from only half a century of operation. The effects of copper mining in water dense areas, in particular, have the potential of even more damage, damage that will reach into the lives of generations to come. No amount of money will pay for the loss.
- A copper mine will be mining, not only metals but, water … our most precious and most valuable commodity.
- Will copper trump our water resources, our wilderness, and our sanity?
The emotions will run high as they should. We have nothing to lose by sitting idly by without comment, but the very thing that makes our lives sustainable, literally.
Take a look at Mississippi River Bluff country in Perrot State Park, downstream from our mines. The water at this park is not safe to drink now. What more will we lose in the surrounding countryside from the pollution of a copper sulfide mine?