Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
Here's an issue that could use your action. I'm passing this information along from MT Trout Unlimited. Please act fast and make your voice heard. Some of the rivers most treatend by this legislation are the Blackfoot, Rock Creek, upper Clark Fork, and Big Hole - all legendary trout streams.
The Montana Legislature disappointingly gave final approval to SB 306, a bill that is an end run around the Montana voter-approved ban on cyanide leach mining. This bill will be on Governor Schweitzer's desk by the end of the week.
Cyanidde leach mining is used to extract gold from low grade ore and in areas where teh practice has been used, the cyandie and other mine runoff has ended up in rivers. Let the Governor know that Montana's rivers are more important than short term economic gain for a couple of corporations or individuals.
It will only take five minutes of your time and it will have a drastic impact on the outcome of this legislation.
SB 306, sponsored by Sen. Terry Murphy (R-Cardwell), creates an end-run around Montana's popular voter-approved ban on new open-pit cyanide-leach mines. SB 306, which has passed through the entire legislature, creates a three step process in regards to gold mining around Montana.
1. It would dramatically alter existing law and allow for ore from new open-pit mines to be processed at Golden Sunlight. Open pit mines have had a dramatic and negative impact to our rivers because of the associated acid mine drainage not to mention the mountains of waste.
2. Additionally, that ore would have to be trucked through our towns and neighborhoods on public roads to the grandfathered cyanide-leaching facilities.
3. Finally, after the ore is dug from large open-pit mines, the ore would then be processed at existing cyanide-leach facilities like the Golden Sunlight Mine in Whitehall, which has its own history of environmental degradation. Without the use of cyanide, the mining of low-grade, pollution-ridden ore bodies and the devastation it creates would not occur. But today's gold prices make hauling ore long distances to cyanide processing facilities economically attractive.
This three step approach would create havoc with associated acid-mine drainage, metals-laced pollution and operations that deplete ground and surface water. Additionally, the legislation would enable clusters of small, poorly regulated mines in places like the Blackfoot and Rock Creek drainages, where industry is interested in mining low-grade ore bodies. Simply put, SB 306 would enable new, damaging mines that will produce waste and pollution.
* Call Governor Schweitzer today and ask that he veto SB 306 because our rivers are more precious than gold! You can get your comments to the Governor by clicking here and filling out the online form.
* Call 444-3111 and leave a message for the Governor.
Always remember, be courteous and thoughtful with your comments rather than taking an angry or accusatory tone.
Tell the Governor to veto SB 306 because:
* The -Insert your favorite river here (i.e. Blackfoot, Madison, Rock Creek etc.)- is more precious than gold!
* Voters overwhelmingly banned new open-pit mines that use cyanide leaching in 1998. In 2004, Montanans also resoundingly rejected an initiative that sought to repeal the ban. We already said no twice to this failed mining technology!
* Despite industry claims, the ban has not diminished mining jobs in Montana. According to a U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, more people are employed in mining in Montana now than before the ban: 4,111 in 1997 and 4,735 in 2009. We don't need this failed mining method to have mining jobs.
* The history of open-pit mines that use cyanide-leach processing has created huge environmental liabilities for the public. Cleanup costs at the closed Zortman-Landusky mine have totaled $56 million to date, with no end in site. Taxpayers have already spent $13.5 million on cleanup there, including $1.5 million annually to treat acidic pollution. The shelved Beal Mountain Mine in the upper Clark Fork watershed is a time bomb. It is leaking toxic cyanide compounds and selenium, poisoning trout and groundwater. Taxpayers have shelled out nearly $9 million for cleanup so far, and Forest Service staff estimate it could cost another $47 million to fix.
* Mining companies are eyeing low-grade ore bodies all over Montana, including the headwaters of the Blackfoot River, in upper Rock Creek, the headwaters of the Clark Fork River, in a key tributary of the Big Hole River, and in other watersheds that harbor important trout populations. These waters are simply too important to Montana's culture and economy to put at risk by reviving the failed technology of open-pit, cyanide-leach mining.
Clean water and trout are simply too important to Montana. Tell Governor Schweitzer to SAY NO TO SB 306!
Take Care and Fish On,
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