Thursday, December 15, 2016

Mining for sustainability?

The federal agencies with responsibility for the decision have decided not to renew the two mineral leases associated with copper-nickel mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area. (The entity holding those leases had already filed suit to ensure their renewal.) On the one hand, I'm very pleased with the decision and hope the courts affirm it. On the other hand, I wonder if such a decision would be necessary if the mining sector were known to be better stewards of the environment.

Birch Lake on the Gunflint Trail
Birch Lake on the Gunflint Trail
Photo by J. Harrington

Because it's Christmas season, I'll be brief in enumerating what I see as some critical points.
On the other hand,
If mining in Minnesota and the United States could demonstrate a successful period of contributing to the world's sustainable development, avoiding environmental disasters and cleaning and rehabilitating the sites it uses, federal, state and environmental interests might not find as many objections to new endeavors. Can Twin Metals or PolyMet point to any major successes in sustainable mining that they have participated in? If so, what, where, how did it come about, when? Resources might be better spent on getting answers to these questions than in courtroom battles, wouldn't you think?

An Identity Crisis

By Garry Gottfriedson

I certainly know who I am . . .

I can get away with being politically incorrect.
I am the ambassador to First Nations’ poetic expressions
& as Kinsella pompously put it straight
“I have the license to do so.”

what a magical way to escape tyranny!
just like Trudeau & Chrétien hiding beneath cowboy hats

nevertheless & back to the point,

call me cowboy
call me First Nations
call me aboriginal
call me native
call me chug
call me skin

if you must,
but never call me Indian.
I call myself that!

& if you feel guilty when I say so,
this is not about postcolonial rhetoric
it is about an identity crisis

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Please be kind to each other while you can.