Mining leaves Idaho choking

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


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.”

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate