Superior National Forest’s land exchange with Polymet effectively trades wilderness mandated for protection into the hands of the copper mining industry, one of the most polluting industries known to man. The question comes up:
What price this northeastern Minnesota wilderness at the headwaters of the St Lawrence Seaway, the Great Lakes and at the heart of three of the greatest waterways in the North American continent?
The proponents of this bad deal will tell you that these wilderness lands are not “productive” and that this exchange will benefit the school children in the trade or some such …. that there will be hundreds of jobs, that the lands received by the NSFS in the swap are much more contiguous and will allow better management of forest resources, give greater access, more financial benefit and so on ….
Will any greater access, the amount of jobs from mining and “productivity” pay for the pollution of this valuable resource, our waters, for hundreds of years? Since one of the insidious products of copper sulfide mining is bio-available mercury, how will school children profit from this; and how does one” clean up” the damage?
I wonder. Is money and profitability the only statistic of prime importance on a balance sheet? If so, then what of clean water, clean air, the health of our plant and animal life, the mitochondria, the fungus and the insects and birds? Let’s consider the health of our children if not our own. What is the price of a child’s life, the price of wilderness? We are not only trading lands in this swap. It is much deeper and much more damning than this.
Money will not give us the things we need in the long haul … and our children will benefit far better from clean water. Wilderness is our filter, it is literally our blood and our bone, it is our base. Whatever benefits wilderness benefits us. Copper sulfide mining is not one of these.