Summit Daily letters: It’s time to reform hardrock mining
It’s time to reform hardrock mining
Next week Congress will begin working on legislation to update the law that regulates hardrock mining. The law that is currently in place was signed by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872 back when mining was done by prospectors swinging pickaxes. The industry has changed tremendously since then and often involves large foreign corporations using massive equipment and huge quantities of harmful chemicals to extract gold, silver and copper. Unfortunately the 1872 mining law didn’t foresee the need to require mining operations to clean up the toxic messes that they left behind.
The recent spill, which turned the Blue River orange in Breckenridge, or the 2015 Gold King Mine spill near Silverton are good reminders that hardrock mining is a dirty business. The Environmental Protection Agency says that under the 1872 law, hardrock mining has polluted 40% of Western headwaters, with an estimated cost to clean up these sites over $50 billion.
The antiquated law also doesn’t charge companies royalties for the valuable minerals they take out of the ground on public lands. That means that billions of dollars worth of minerals have been taken — royalty-free — from the public lands that belong to all of us.
It’s time to change the archaic laws that govern mining. I urge everyone who enjoys fishing, hiking or camping on our beautiful public lands in Colorado, to let their representatives in Washington know it’s time to make common sense reforms to the 1872 mining law.
Mountain Angler fly fishing shop in Breckenridge
U.S. foreign policy responsible for border crisis
Re: Morgan Liddick’s April 30 Summit Daily column, “Is illegal immigration a crisis yet?”
Mr. Liddick, suck it up! U.S. foreign policy created the crisis at the border, so now the U.S. has the moral obligation to accept these refugees without resentment and without circumventing domestic and international laws regarding asylum — and especially without the commission of abominable crimes like family separation. Yes, that’s a tall order for an arrogant and self-righteous nation that acts with impunity in the world. Is it selective amnesia or voluntary ignorance on your part, Mr. Liddick, not to acknowledge the impact today of the 1954 CIA-backed coup in Guatemala which toppled a democratically elected president and then led to a 30-year civil war? Or Reagan’s dirty wars in Central America that destabilized the northern triangle of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — nations that the U.S. supported financially and militarily but which you now disparage in your column by calling them “kleptocratic regimes.” You’re too kind. I would call them the devil’s spawn.
And now the U.S. conjures up its demons once again. I never expected another U.S.-backed coup in Latin America in my lifetime — but neither did I expect another Vietnam like the endless war in Afghanistan. Perhaps the U.S. is too arrogant and too powerful to learn from its mistakes. As I write this letter, the U.S. is fomenting a coup in Venezuela which National Security Adviser John Bolton denies — who, by the way, applauded the U.S. withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, and who stonewalled the congressional investigation into the Iran-Contra scandal decades ago. Even worse, war criminal and perjurer Elliot Abrams leads the charge as special envoy to Venezuela whose expertise in mass killing goes back to Reagan’s Guatemalan foray. The Rolling Stones’ song, “Sympathy for the Devil” comes to mind.
Not surprising, as the U.S. readies itself for another military intervention — a grave infringement of a nation’s sovereignty unlike the unlawful immigration that riles you, Mr. Liddick — the corporate mass media is complicit. Remember Iraq? Consequently, I urge the reader to watch the very revealing interviews with Jeffrey Sachs and Miguel Tinker Salas on DemocracyNow.org (Wednesday, May 1). That should be sufficient motivation then for you to contact your senators and your House representative and to tell them “NO U.S. INTERVENTION IN VENEZUELA!” Otherwise, in the future some ignorant and outraged Americans will be ranting and raving about Venezuelan refugees at the U.S. border.
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