Viewpoint: Writer dismisses pro-mining defense letter
In defending the pro mining letter, Joyce Bant seems to rely heavily on Media Trackers, the right-wing propaganda machine’s slanted “news releases” and GOP talking point memos.
First, my statement was “…the Bad River Band plant was cited in each of 5 years 2004-2008; however it has not been out of compliance in the past 12 quarters.
This is straight from the EPA compliance report which showed 145 businesses, municipalities and corporations have been cited with approximately 1,500 violations since 2007. The 5,400 percent above the legal limit was, as far as I could determine, an isolated occurrence. And of the Bad River Band plant’s 241 violations, 99 were reporting or monitoring violations which are not indicative of actual pollution violations, but that required reports were not filed and this resulted in automatic violations. However, the Bad River has self-reported violations to the EPA and invested $1.6 million in the past two years to fix those violations. The EPA says it has been working with Bad River to improve operations at the wastewater plant and while still not in full compliance, discharge quality has improved and violations have been resolved. Remember, the seriousness of the violations are not of the same magnitude as the potential damage from mining and is far different then dealing with sulfuric acid drainage and subsequent groundwater aquifer poisoning.
Second, my take on “pie-in-the-sky” number of jobs the mine would create was questioned with the retort of “…why would the mine spend millions…it cannot waste their money on boondoggles.” Why, indeed. As “Woods Person” reported: “Commodities Now in its Nov. 15, 2012 issue stated that because of increasing production capacity and slower growth in demand, taconite prices will be volatile and continue to trend towards $85 to $95/ton during 2016 to 2020. If a mining company were to start today to pursue permits and build its infrastructure, it would, at best, come on line in about eight years, putting it right at the low price mark. And as Mining.com, in a November 19, 2012 article, stated, the largest U.S. taconite miner, Cleveland Cliffs, is delaying “massive iron ore projects in Canada and the U.S. because of declining taconite prices.” The question, then, becomes; who would invest $1.5 billion developing a project that will only return, at best, $25/ton or $200 million per year? Given the economics of this venture: the Penokee deposit will be expensive to mine, sits in an environmentally sensitive area, is not universally welcomed, and with falling prices; why would a company pursue this venture? Or as an official of the largest U.S. taconite mining company said, when asked the question, “What do you think of the Penokee deposit?” he replied, “Not economically feasible.”
Lastly, after checking on the definition of terrorism- “the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes”; I find that the actions of those protestors do fit the definition.
John Kocovsky, Hazelhurst