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If you want the Smith River to look like the pit in Butte then sit by and keep quite and let a Canadian company make lots of money at your expense.
 

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Any of you Smith River locals that know where us flatlanders can write letters of support for keeping the Smith free of mine run off, please post up.

The Smith is one gem of a river and we need to do what we can to help keep it clean.
 

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Much appreciated, Montanaflyfish,

Just sent a email to MT DEQ.

Will draft up a US Mail letter later today and post same.

I urge other Buzzards to do the same. The Smith River Fans community needs to let the powers that be know just how important keeping the Smith River water flow clean is to the rest of us, not just the people who live in the area.

Locally, we are doing our best to save the Buffalo River from a massive pig farm operation dumping their poop into a feeder creek to the Buffalo. If this can happen to a National Scenic River with all sorts of US "Forest Rangers" assigned to the river, I think a similar (granted mine tailing liquids are not poop but much more toxic) it can happen to a lesser known jewel of a stream like the Smith River.
 

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I'm sure I'll get lit up for not instantly jumping onto the "stop that mine bandwagon" but are all mines bad? How are we going to get new phones, TV's and toasters every year or two if we don't have raw materials? Sure recycling answers some of the need but not all. Should we get it over sees so it's not in our back yard?

Is it not reasonable to think that we could have a mine and clean water at the same time? We have learned a lot over the past few hundred years.

I don't want a mine near my favorite river anymore than anyone else but we need materials, we need employment, economic infusions. It can be done. My suggestion is instead of instantly going on the defensive, we should first inform ourselves of the details. All sides of the story, look at the details and make our own minds up based on the facts we each can discern.

I for one will be looking more deeply into this, but thus far (in 20 mins of internet research) all I've really found were highly biased articles from either side stating why their opinion is accurate. I have no idea if this is a really bad idea or a well thought out plan to extract much needed natural resources.

I shall now duck and hide behind my desk for a while, in the meantime I will endeavor to learn more about this proposed undertaking.
 

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I'm sure I'll get lit up for not instantly jumping onto the "stop that mine bandwagon" but are all mines bad? How are we going to get new phones, TV's and toasters every year or two if we don't have raw materials? Sure recycling answers some of the need but not all. Should we get it over sees so it's not in our back yard?

Is it not reasonable to think that we could have a mine and clean water at the same time? We have learned a lot over the past few hundred years.

I don't want a mine near my favorite river anymore than anyone else but we need materials, we need employment, economic infusions. It can be done. My suggestion is instead of instantly going on the defensive, we should first inform ourselves of the details. All sides of the story, look at the details and make our own minds up based on the facts we each can discern.

I for one will be looking more deeply into this, but thus far (in 20 mins of internet research) all I've really found were highly biased articles from either side stating why their opinion is accurate. I have no idea if this is a really bad idea or a well thought out plan to extract much needed natural resources.

I shall now duck and hide behind my desk for a while, in the meantime I will endeavor to learn more about this proposed undertaking.
Good thinking.

Mining today is much more regulated than it was 100 or more years ago. Regulations are pretty tough on the mining companies that operate in the US, and when it comes to water, they are often required to put the water back as clean or cleaner than it was when they took it. That includes rain and snow waters.

It's not easy, and it comes with a price, but if the mining company can still make a profit after accounting for the treatment of the waters, then they'll likely be allowed to move forward and will do so.

That doesn't address any cosmetic impacts from a mining operation (open pits, roads, waste rock piles, etc), but the impacts to waters and wildlife are always a big obstacle from regulators to the mining companies these days.

So no, not all mining is bad, particularly in the US.
 

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Agreed, we need raw materials for goods and jobs.

Agreed, modern mining methods can reduce damage a bunch compared to the old methods.

The issue I see is insuring modern practices are followed.

It is true that some businesses will do the right thing.

It is true that we the public need all the facts.

What scares me is when the pig farm did it's deal on the Buffalo River drainage in Arkansas, they followed the law basically. But the deal was done without much if any press coverage as to what was going on. Construction was approved before most people knew about the deal. I do not live close to the Smith River so many might consider keeping the Smith River as "pure water" as we can as opposed to some number of short time mining jobs not any of my business. I can understand that. However, the more open to the public knowledge of the process of allowing the mine to operate the better it is for Smith River locals, visitors and the water the Smith River flows into downstream.

Result, the Buffalo River commercial pig farm operation is being set up. Too many details to discuss here but even if the laws are followed as they exist, common sense tells most of us that it is just a matter of time before massive amounts of pig poo will be discharged into the Buffalo River. Then it will be too late.

I may well be jumping the gun advocating caution on the proposed mine on the Smith River drainage.

But, if the entire process is brought out in the open up front, maybe the process can be stopped, altered to better insure the mine does not allow toxic waste into the Smith River or more facts brought out to the public.

I totally believe in intelligent use of our natural resources for both jobs and recreation.

The history or management of mines and use of public lands does have a few "good" examples of proper and safe use of the resource. Much higher history of damage that takes monster amounts of money and time to correct.

Here in NE Oklahoma we have a section of land that was strip mined for coal some time ago. This included a small town. People started getting sick and research showed the mine tailings leaching stuff in the water was the culprit. Fed's moved in and declared the area too dangerous for anyone to live there. Now the tax payers are footing the bill for a massive clean up that many of us doubt will work. I do not want to see that happen to the Smith River.
 

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I may well be jumping the gun advocating caution on the proposed mine on the Smith River drainage.
I don't think you can ever jump the gun advocating caution. On the other hand actions should not be proposed or taken with out a reasonably comprehensive understanding of the issue.

I totally agree that good examples of environmental responsible mining operations are far outweighed by the bad. But as a person that is involved in a fair amount of environmental permitting, it's a much more robust system than was in place (if there even was a system) when most of the problems we're now cleaning up were created.

It appears from the latest newspaper columns that the mining co has already backed off the large adit in favor of continued exploratory drilling. A formal application for a mining permit is still several years off (if even verified to be a economically viable reserve to mine.) It'll be interesting to see how this goes. Environmental groups have stopped just about every other proposed mine in the state over the last few decades, so these guys have a long road to haul if they are to begin mining...

I hope everyone realizes my questions above were truly rhetorical. I haven't yet formed an opinion on this mining proposal, but I get frustrated with the typical attitude that mines, drilling, development, etc. are all bad. Especially when we all benefit and frankly require each to maintain our standard of living, however varied that standard may be. We seem to live under the umbrella of innocent until proven guilty but practice guilty until proven innocent.

Thanks for reading my rants...
 

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Energy and ore industries have a long history of fucking things up while still operating within legal parameters, although many also operate out of legal parameters. Those in industry will always claim existing standards are sufficient for protection but in some sense are unqualified to make such a claim as they seem to have no skin in the game as far as conservation is concerned. Conservationists on the other hand lack the technical expertise to properly assess preventative measures. When looking at a variety of extraction techniques over a variety of minerals it quickly becomes more than even a dedicated person can be an expert. The wildly skewed articles you reference further obfuscate real solutions that may exists out there. In theory the EPA should have independent resources and research but in practice they are the same people who have worked or will work for the private sector in these same industries.
 
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