Thursday, April 24, 2008

Planet in Peril

On CNN’s Planet in Peril last night, there was a special on water contamination for an Iron Mine into a river that villages downstream depended on for a water supply and for growing rice. The contamination is possibly linked to high cancer rates in the villages downstream.

I was watching it with a friend that was amazed the Chinese government and world would let something like that happen. What came to mind were the similar recent situations in the United States.
The Iron Mountain Mine in Northern California (30 miles from where I grew up) is located at the headwaters of the Sacramento River, a major agricultural water supply.

And closer to where I live now, from 1965 to 1989 Kennecott Utah Copper discharged (leaked) 4 million gallons of similar quality water a day into the aquifer that is shared by several municipalities in the southwest Salt Lake County.

Discharge of such waters was common practice in the Untied States up until the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Mining companies in the US including Kennecott Utah Copper currently have very aggressive environmental programs to not only clean up the problems from the past and pro-active programs to keep from creating new environmental issues. Hopefully mining companies in China will follow the lead set by mines in the US.

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