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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mining threat and American Alps

Per my Thanksgiving post, many may believe the threats to the landscape are not real/realistic, and that we're engaged in arm-waving and over-dramatization.

My main contention of, and support for American Alps is rooted in a belief that the landscape is worthy of protection and recognition for a number of reasons, of which "threats" is only one. A functioning, robust ecosystem that recognizes the lay of the land--where watersheds and landform define the area of protection, not arbitrary lines.

The evidence of threats I provided then is legit, but now it's time to take it to the next level.
This is a letter I received from Earthworks, the leading organization in mining reform, and those best versed in the impacts of the General Mining Law of 1872. Extrapolate the below to The North Cascades, and imagine the upper Granite Creek Trench or Early Winters/West Fork Methow (which aren't even Wilderness).

==From Earthworks==
In northwest Montana, the Montanore copper/silver mine is proposed under the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness.It would blast miles of tunnels underneath the Wilderness – a vital refuge that supports:
*A struggling population of 30-40 grizzly bears (a threatened species).
*Important bull trout recovery streams (another threatened species).
*Wilderness lakes and streams that provide clean and abundant water.
*Dewatering Wilderness Lakes and Streams: to keep the mine tunnels dry, groundwater would be lowered 10 feet to 1,000 feet under the Wilderness -- substantially reducing flows in rivers and lakes that rely on this groundwater, some permanently.
*Harming Bull Trout: Reduction of stream flows in two of the most important bull trout streams in the region would be particularly harmful for bull trout which need these cold, clear streams for spawning.
*Threatening Grizzly Bears:The Cabinet Yaak grizzly bear population is already hanging on by a thread. Over a thousand acres of grizzly bear habitat would be destroyed if Montanore goes ahead.


I urge everyone to go to the Earthworks action page and submit your own letters on this matter.
I also urge you to reconsider how much (more) mining would take place in the upper reaches of the Methow and Skagit drainages if the area were designated National Park...

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the best to everyone this festive season!

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