Friday, September 21, 2012

Mining's Lingering Legacy

Colorado's mining legacy consists of more than mounds of gravel, old Victorian houses and deep holes in the hillsides. There is a lingering, deadly after effect of the mining done in the last century. 

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Miners, searching for gold and silver, left other concentrated, toxic minerals exposed to the elements. Over the years, wind and rain have dissolved these minerals which then enter the local water supplies. Many of these water sources, local streams and rivers, have become so acidic that not even bugs can survive. And these water sources empty into Lake Dillon which is a water source for Denver and its suburbs.

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There is an estimated 450 abandoned mines in the state of Colorado that are leaking "toxic ooze" into local watersheds. And that number is a staggering 500,000 abandoned mines across the entire Western U.S. Unfortunately, Federal regulations state that any entity who tries to reduce the contamination can be held liable for a full-scale cleanup. So nothing has been done. But many County governments have begun to lobby to change Federal laws. I can only hope that something is done before it is too late.
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3 comments:

Robin Larkspur said...

This is a terrible thing! Again, government proving to be more interested in complicating the situation rather than having the health and safety of the public in the forefront.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Those Federal regulations are crazy and counterproductive. I hope they get changed. Also, I hope governments put some money into cleaning up the problem. It's too late now to expect the miners and mining companies to do it. Most of them probably don't even exist anymore.

mrsduncanmahogany said...

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the government gets ahead of this situation and deals with it promptly! Water is such a precious commodity.