Lindstrom’s views on gold mining hardly hold a shine to environment |

Lindstrom’s views on gold mining hardly hold a shine to environment

Justin J. McCarthy, Summit Greens, Breckenridge

I was saddened but not surprised to read your June 10 article regarding County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom’s indifference to the possible use of open-pit cyanide gold mining in Summit County.

Despite Mr. Lindstrom’s efforts to run against his own record the past fall and convince Summit County voters that he is actually concerned about the environment, the public is once again reminded through his own comments that “it’s not something we think is that important.”

Gold mining and its acidic tailings have definitely left their mark in our state and still pollute our water basins. As far as open-pit cyanide mining is concerned, Nevada has some of the largest operations in the nation.

I have been to one these operations myself, Cortez Gold Mine in north central Nevada. In fact, almost 10 percent of the world’s gold comes from Nevada through the cyanide leaching process.

The state’s long mining strip is also on Western Shoshone treaty lands. Because of the massive environmental destruction, the traditional Western Shoshone Council has long opposed this type of mining.

Massive amounts of water are piped from the ground of the nation’s most arid state, draining wells and scared springs. This water is used to break down literally entire mountains composed of a very low-grade ore to be mixed with cyanide in large pools lined with plastic, at best.

Mr. Lindstrom asserts, “People that use the process are very careful. I have a very high comfort level with the environmental laws and mining practices that would do anything that would be detrimental to the environment.”

In Nevada, this has definitely not been the case. There are multiple Environmental Protection Agency violations by the mining industry that have lead to the deaths of thousands of waterfowl, the poisoning of water supplies, springs and the draining of the water table.

Often, the federal government, especially under the current administration, is lax on enforcement. County governments that receive lucrative property tax earning from the mining companies are reluctant to bite the hand that feeds them.

In our state, the Summitville disaster still stains the Alamosa River, and responsible criminals still escape justice.

While I agree that open-pit cyanide mining here in Summit County may be unlikely in the foreseeable future, it is important to guard against the possibility.

Why not support the ban and be praised as an environmental hero, Mr. Lindstrom?

It seems that the liberal election talk of Mr. Lindstrom is only that, as he seems quite resettled in his incumbency once again. What is important is for those in high places to take up the responsibility to preserve this place for future generations, those seen and unseen.

As Western Shoshone elders have reminded me over the years, to protect the Mother Earth takes more than mere political talk, but true love and respect for this Creation.

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