(Fwd) Enviro-Newsbrief 8/16/96

PJ Prete (n1nw328@wastenot.ehnr.state.nc.us)
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:20:18 -0500

Saw your recent posting to the greenYes list RE mining. You just
don't give up, do you. Glad to see it. As we have discussed many
times, all the incentives, public education, praises, goals, and yes,
even the open discussion of the issues in real economic terms, will
not really advance recycling very far along the most meaningful route
that it should go - not as a competing waste management strategy -
but as a competing materials supply strategy to extraction and virgin
material production. At that level, the economics are marginal for
many of the materials that we concern ourselves with in recycling
programs. However, the scales are tipped by two very critical

1) The environmental protection benefits of secondary materials
utilization do not get factored into the equation. (ie reduction in
energy consumption and subsequent reduction in production of air
pollutants, water pollutants, and green house gases as well as the
reduction in the impact that primary materials extraction has on land quality,
forestry and water resources, natural habitat, air quality, etc.)

2) Our national materials policy exists in many bits and pieces
rather than in comprehensive form. It is outdated. It favors the
minerals and petroleum extraction industries and the timber harvest
industry over secondary materials industry.

Anyway, you know all that....

But there is hope. See the news brief forwarded below. I am copying
to greenYes as well. All the negative ravings the Times has gotten
for its publishing of Tierney's article and all the hours of
relentless rumination on his lack of merit and all the facts and
opinions that have been pushed in front of us are great, but come on.
Super-saturation occured long ago. It would be nice to think that
the positive direction and potential for moving toward changes that
could really level the playing field might prompt just as much
attention. Perhaps a note or two to the Post congratuling them on
their commentary would be appropriate (I have not seen the full
editorial mentioned below.) Who knows, perhaps mining reform will be
on the plate of our next Congress.
Philip J. Prete
NC Division of Waste Management

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 1996 15:12:22 -0400
Subject: Enviro-Newsbrief 8/16/96

(Extracted from EPA Enviro-Newsbrief)

** MINING **

Time to Fix the Mining Law [editorial]. The Washington Post,
August 16, 1996, pA30.

The editorial urges for changes to the American mining law
because it is an "anachronism". The editor contends that the law
was passed at a time when environmental
protection was not an issue and "..the government's only purpose
was to encourage mining and the development of the West."
This law allows companies inexpensive access to large
mineral deposits and "little obligation to reclaim the land or
ward off future damage from the debris that the operation leave
The article recounts the recent Clinton administration deal
with the Crown Butte mining company concerning mining just to the
northeast of Yellowstone Park. The author calls the deal "an
excellent save." "But the need is to change the law to make such
saves unnecessary in the future, by putting out of bounds those
parts of the federal domain on which mining would constitute an
environmental threat," added the author.