Mining leaves Idaho choking


In the Idaho panhandle, where government is the enemy, the mining industry has enjoyed a century of mostly profitable and largely unregulated business which has left the surrounding ecology poisoned and many local residents deathly ill. This month the US State Department and the Couer d’Alene Tribal Council will fight back in court with a $1 billion lawsuit, according to CASCADIA TIMES.

Recent Must Reads

1/6 – Censorship U.

1/5 – New economy, old salary gaps

1/4 – Icy goodbye from Ben and Jerry?

1/3 – Israel’s US spin doctors The plaintiffs say that the companies dumped hundreds of millions of tons of hazardous wastes — including lead, arsenic, and cadmium — in the Coeur d’ Alene River basin over the last century, and should be forced to foot the bill for cleaning it up.

People living near the mines have reported health problems they attribute to lead poisoning. In 1974, a Couer d’Alene child was found to have the highest blood level of lead ever recorded. Shoshone County, where many of the mines are (or were) ranks first in Idaho for cancers associated with arsenic poisoning, including cancers of the bladder, kidney, colon and larynx.

The battle is an uphill one for environmentalists. “This is a region that is frighteningly anti-government,” says Bob Bostwick, a spokesman for the Coeur d’ Alene Tribal Council. “They seem to be mad at everyone except the mining industry that dumped this stuff on top of them.”