To the editor:
Anyone remember the Summitville Disaster? The people of Rio Grande County do.
Twenty years ago the Canadian mining operation at Summitville declared bankruptcy and walked off, leaving a moonscape with piles of cyanide treated rubble draining acidic, mineral and cyanide laden water into streams and ground water, rendering the Alamosa River lifeless and the downstream users and well owners out of luck.
250 million taxpayer dollars later the site is somewhat remediated. A $16 million water treatment plant provided by the 2009 stimulus is allowing the river to recover, a process the EPA estimates will require 100 years.
The mining company paid not one penny of the $250 million in gold it extracted to the citizens of the United States, thanks to the archaic mining law of 1872. Under this law mining proposals cannot be denied, and provisions of the Clean Water Act do not apply.
Some environmental review does remain in the permitting process.
Now comes HR 4402, masquerading as a “strategic and critical minerals” (like sand and gravel) bill, it effectively eliminates environmental review and greatly limits mining- impacted communities any recourse.
Scott Tipton sponsored this bill.
Why? The environment should not stand in the way of private profit. This is progress, and those downstream users should know that.
An amendment was offered to the bill that would provide for a small royalty, the proceeds to be set aside for the cost of future inevitable cleanups.
Scott Tipton voted no.
Why? Privatize the profit and socialize the damage. Gummint is bad, I signed Grover Norquist’s pledge to starve the beast and The National Mining Association has been good to me.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a congressman who represents his constituents instead of his extreme ideology?
Sal Pace will represent the people of the third congressional district with moderation and rational thought, not ideology.
Get acquainted at paceforcolorado.com.