Friday, November 6, 2015

Gratitude: First Keystone, then, maybe, PolyMet?

If you're reading this, you're most likely the type of person who already knows, and is cheering that, President Barack Obama has announced that the Keystone pipeline is not in the interest of the United States. This is something for which we should all be grateful. Every once in awhile, sanity prevails. Let's hope that Governor Dayton sees and supports this parallel: President Obama, not running for reelection, does the right thing for the environment and the future of the US economy, cancels Keystone. Governor Dayton, not running for reelection, does the right thing for the environment and the future on the MN economy, cancels PolyMet mine. Each decision is a major, major factor in the legacy the elected leader will leave behind as well as a major factor the children of Minnesota, the U.S., and the world will face.

northern Minnesota, Lake Superior
northern Minnesota, Lake Superior
Photo by J. Harrington

The whole economic Ponzi scheme, of business needing more consumers to allow reduced prices and higher profits for lower prices for more consumers etc. is, in my opinion, coming unraveled. The world is coming to not only realize, but grudgingly accept that we have to leave most (80%) of the fossil fuels in the ground if we want to have a chance of avoiding an untenable future. The President stated we need to leave some in the ground when he cancelled Keystone.

If someone eventually makes a case that we truly need the minerals that are well less than 1% of the ores to be mined next to the Boundary Waters, they can still be there when the mining industry has literally cleaned up its act. I haven't yet seen a report of a non-polluting hard rock mine. Have you? If it comes to that, lets assume that 350 "high-paying" mining jobs represents something like $15 to $20 million a year in salaries. The population of Minnesota is currently over 5 million. That means the 350 job salaries are equal to $3 to $4 per capita per year. I'll be happy to pay that much more in taxes to protect the Boundary Waters. Governor Dayton, if it comes to that, please raise my damn taxes and leave the BWCAW alone. We'll save money on future clean-up costs and the extra taxes can go to cleaning up more of the current mess lining has made of our North Country.

The Secret of the Machines

By Rudyard Kipling 


We were taken from the ore-bed and the mine,   
   We were melted in the furnace and the pit—   
We were cast and wrought and hammered to design,   
   We were cut and filed and tooled and gauged to fit.   
Some water, coal, and oil is all we ask,
   And a thousandth of an inch to give us play:   
And now, if you will set us to our task,
   We will serve you four and twenty hours a day!

      We can pull and haul and push and lift and drive,   
      We can print and plough and weave and heat and light,
      We can run and race and swim and fly and dive,   
      We can see and hear and count and read and write!

Would you call a friend from half across the world?
   If you’ll let us have his name and town and state,
You shall see and hear your crackling question hurled
   Across the arch of heaven while you wait.   
Has he answered? Does he need you at his side?
   You can start this very evening if you choose,   
And take the Western Ocean in the stride
   Of seventy thousand horses and some screws!

      The boat-express is waiting your command!   
      You will find the Mauretania at the quay,
      Till her captain turns the lever ’neath his hand,   
      And the monstrous nine-decked city goes to sea.

Do you wish to make the mountains bare their head   
   And lay their new-cut forests at your feet?   
Do you want to turn a river in its bed,
   Or plant a barren wilderness with wheat?
Shall we pipe aloft and bring you water down
   From the never-failing cisterns of the snows,   
To work the mills and tramways in your town,
   And irrigate your orchards as it flows?

      It is easy! Give us dynamite and drills!
      Watch the iron-shouldered rocks lie down and quake   
      As the thirsty desert-level floods and fills,
      And the valley we have dammed becomes a lake.

But remember, please, the Law by which we live,   
   We are not built to comprehend a lie,
We can neither love nor pity nor forgive.
   If you make a slip in handling us you die!   
We are greater than the Peoples or the Kings—
   Be humble, as you crawl beneath our rods!-
Our touch can alter all created things,
   We are everything on earth—except The Gods!

      Though our smoke may hide the Heavens from your eyes,
      It will vanish and the stars will shine again,
      Because, for all our power and weight and size,   

      We are nothing more than children of your brain!

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Please be kind to each other while you can.