Recently, environmental activists have been vocal about their opposition to a proposed open-pit copper mine from a Canadian-based company. Many of their arguments focus on concerns that it could harm air and water quality, and that this type of mining just shouldn’t be risked in a vital environment, watershed, and state – like Arizona.
Arizona? Yep. Arizona. Read the US News article.
We wouldn’t blame you if you thought that first paragraph was about Minnesota. After all, opponents of PolyMet have used these same talking points for years. They continue to use fear and doomsday scenarios even when regulatory agencies have stated the project will meet all environmental standards. Statements made at recent public hearings on mining included comments about how Minnesota’s water rich environment isn’t the right place for copper mining when there are mineral deposits in arid climates. Like in Arizona…
So opponents of mining in Minnesota say “Not in my back yard!” Opponents of mining in Arizona are also saying “Not in my back yard!” And there lies the paradox: if all watersheds and environments matter, as they do, then where should we be mining if copper-mining opponents think the risks outweigh the benefits everywhere?
Not in anyone’s back yard? Not possible when global demand for copper is already projected to outpace supply by 2019, continuing through 2030?
In third world countries where wages are poor and environmental standards are nonexistent? It’s time for us to step up and realize that if we want to continue enjoying life’s modern conveniences and care about global environment, not just our own, then it’s time to say we can mine copper better in our back yard here in Minnesota.