When environmentalism becomes corruption – Part 1

Environmental principles are too often used to stop lawful, responsible, vital land uses

Craig Liukko

All across the United States, private property rights are under assault – assault by state and federal legislators and regulators, environmentalist groups, wealthy liberal foundations, corporations and other special interests, often acting in coordination or collusion with one another. They are seizing or taking control of lands and other valuable property without due process or just compensation, under a host of environmental and other justifications, many of which are fictional at best.

I have personally witnessed attempts to shut down the small mining industry in my state of Colorado. Exploration and development by this industry often results in discoveries of major deposits of minerals that are essential for everything we make, use and do – including medical equipment, cell phones, computers, aircraft, aerospace, automobiles, wind turbines, solar panels, batteries, and modern high-tech weapon and communication systems.

Actions that block mineral development in the United States make us 50-100% dependent on sometimes less than friendly foreign sources, and on mines that are operated using, abusing and under-paying parents and children, often under horrendous health, safety and environmental conditions.

Stories like what my company went through can be found everywhere in the United States now. Worse, they are no longer confined only to businesses that rely on development of our nation’s vast and highly available natural resources – done today with the highest regard for laws, worker safety and the ecology.

My parents co-founded our family’s mining business. In their later years, they suffered incredible, needless physical and financial pain – at the hands of clever crooks who defrauded our company and ideologically corrupt bureaucrats who took advantage of corrupt legal and regulatory systems to devise yet another opportunity to close yet another mining operation.

The Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS) eagerly supported the crooks in an attempt to steal and destroy our hard work and the investments of 135 mostly senior citizen shareholders in our privately held Colorado corporation. In the process, our corporate and personal names were slandered in local newspapers by false reports from DRMS officials.

Far too many government agencies are corrupted now because they have been largely taken over by radical environmentalists, who know little about mining or society’s crucial need for minerals, who are ideologically opposed to mining and other productive land uses, and whose ideologies too often make them think they are above the law.

Environmentalism has become a new religion, whose extremists will do whatever it takes to fulfill their misguided life missions, to engage in what far too often amounts to injustice and legalized theft.

Worst of all, they have no respect for those who literally stake their time, their fortunes and even their lives mining for metals that make our modern technologies, lives, health and living standards possible. There is little difference between them and other radical religious zealots who cross the line from respectful observance into insanity and acts of depravity. They miss few opportunities to undermine America’s once incredible opportunities under the guise of “saving the planet” – mostly from problems and dangers that have been wildly exaggerated or willfully misrepresented or even concocted.

When we began underground hard rock mining near Silverton in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado in 1980, regulations were comparatively few – but compared to earlier times of few or no rules, mostly sensible and more than ample to ensure human safety and environmental protection.

Dynamite was available at the local hardware store. It was very important for us to protect the environment and operate with the utmost safety. We did exactly that, as we were initially regulated by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for the environment and the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) for safety. In all those years, our company never had a single lost time accident; always took great care to protect the air, water and wildlife habitats; and made sure we never disturbed any more land than was absolutely necessary.

The DRMS began regulating our silver mine several years later. The transition went smoothly for several years, but then silver prices dropped to unsustainable levels. We reclaimed much of the historically mined silver property at our own expense for later use – then raised more capital from family and friends to expand into gold mining in 1988 with the purchase of 370 acres of private mineral property and associated permits. Our new property was surrounded by USFS public land.

A private litigation ensued, which we won handily – even though the DRMS entered the fray in an attempt to use the opportunity to gain more control over our property and mining in general. A concerned Colorado state representative came to our rescue at the time and blocked the DRMS action.

The agency had just become involved in the Summitville open pit mine disaster in the 1990s. The environmental disaster involved extensive pollution of local streams due to leakage of acidic water that contained large quantities of toxic heavy metals originating from decades-old mine tunnels from decades-old mining operations and poorly constructed storage pits associated with more recent open-pit mining.

The DRMS and other agencies should have regulated the operations and pollution much more responsibly from the outset. But they were largely inattentive and negligent. The disaster ultimately cost Colorado and U.S. taxpayers over $150,000,000 – a liability that the agency then capitalized on as an excuse to increase the price for reclamation bonds to unreasonable levels.

It was the first major example in Colorado of environmental activist bureaucrats attempting to regulate an industry in which it actually had no or too few qualifications, and doing so more from a position of opposing activities that they disliked and whose value they did not appreciate.

Fast forward to 2015. The historic San Juan Mining District experienced an even greater disaster: the infamous 2015 Gold King Mine Spill, whose direct cause can be laid squarely on the DRMS, in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. DRMS policies for handling earthen plugs in old mine portals had already been evaluated by the United States Geological Survey, which strongly advised against this method of remediating leakage from abandoned mines. The USGS was ignored.

Negative environmental impacts from reopening caved-in portals have been a problem for decades. It should be obvious that plugging a leak or opening while water is still flowing into a mine means it will fill up and spill over. If the water mixes with acid-generating elements underground, it will become acidic. Yet the DRMS signed off on its policies and practices anyway – causing a disaster that even today is costing taxpayers more millions of dollars, with ongoing cleanup costs that will eventually make the Summitville clean-up costs look cheap.

And still, when my company was in court with the DRMS in 2017, its lawyer told the judge and courtroom that the DRMS would undoubtedly need to plug our portals. Some bureaucrats never learn, or will say anything to an uneducated populace to shut down legitimate operators.

In fact, another vast area in the San Juans, once one of the richest underground mining districts in the world, is now off limits to mining – not because of shoddy mining practices, but because incompetent and ideologically driven bureaucrats have been handed the reins to regulate access into oblivion.

Craig Liukko has owned and operated underground mining, mineral processing and manufacturing businesses for over 40 years. He has traveled to many countries in Central America, the Middle East and Africa, helping them create jobs – safely and ecologically. Part 2 of this article will appear tomorrow.

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79 thoughts on “When environmentalism becomes corruption – Part 1

  1. Until such time as the media, US educational system and all levels of government are cleansed of the followers of green ideology to the point where their is a balance of opinion within those institutions regarding ecological issues, problems such as those experienced by Craig Liukko will continue. This is a long term multifront battle of truth vs left wing propaganda.

  2. Germany, to save the world from global warming and burning hell, the “official” evangelical church launched a petition to limit speed on the traditionally free “Autobahn’s” to 130 Km/h.

    This net violation of the separation between state and church sets corruption to a new liberticide level. Those with enough power to buy the church are extremely dangerous.

    • “…Germany, to save the world from global warming and burning hell, the “official” evangelical church launched a petition to limit speed on the traditionally free “Autobahn’s” to 130 Km/h….”

      It can be no coincidence that German autos designed for high speeds on the autbahn developed better cars (ABS brakes , better suspension, better steering etc.) while Detroit focused on frills in a 55 mph. environment.
      cheers
      Mike

  3. The DRMS seems to be the same combination of incompetence and enthusiasm as CARB (California Air Resources Board).

    • In the US, 1/3 of the government is shut down. There is a great panic to reopen the government, before the population notices that by and large, removing 1/3 of the government has made no difference.

      • I read that Trump can start firing employees that have been furloughed for more than 30 days. That would begin next week.

    • I have an earned PhD myself, Michael. I do not include that in my identification, because I would rather be evaluated on what I say rather than on some kind of implied appeal to authority.

      I would be embarrassed to post a comment that is as irrelevant to the posted article as this one is.

      Since you have chosen to identify yourself in this way, Michael, could you provide us some additional context? What was the field in which you obtained the PhD, and what was the name of the institution that granted it?

      • It was probably politics. Australia had a health minister that was a doctor. His doctorate was in politics. He was a completely useless socialist.

      • He earned a degree and has a right to the post-fix. I personally put no importance on degrees as they seem to hand them out like candy to people who can memorize and take tests, but have no ability to add anything new.

        More important is the subject area – if you have a degree in math, or physics, or engineering…you have actually demonstrated the ability to think – at least at one time in your life! I would like to add other fields but it just isn’t so…you might have the ability to think through a problem but most seem not to bother. The softer the field, the lower my expectations of the degree holder.

        In Micheal’s case, his field of study (Anthropology) likely involved some real science…and statistics. I can only hope he took the time to study them and not just use the tools. I give him the benefit of a doubt.

        As for his comment…I have no idea what he means or why he made it. It is completely missing any context, which a careful writer would have provided. He is being careless, so likely wrote a thought in a hurry and moved on.

  4. The MGuinty/Wynn liberal govt. of Ontario ran roughshod over democratic rights of Ontarians to put in place their green energy plans. Thank God the new govt. is much more democratic and sensible.

      • Yes she is and still saying CO2 is pollution. What a bimbo. Between her and the Prime Minister they do not have half a brain between them.

        • That’s the problem. Their brains are between them, not in their skulls where the brains might do some good.

  5. Environmentalism is the Marxism of our time. Full stop. I came to this issue through climategate because even though I was small government by attitude I could not believe that science would be systemically corrupted. Deep research into environmentalism opened my eyes. Not just reading posts on this website but spending much time and effort attempting to understand the various issues to the best of my ability.

    You know they had vast libraries devoted to the study of Marxism at one time. Those as an old actor once stated are “on the ash heap of history” Environmentalism is that creature reborn in a new skin. We beat that challenge to civilization back and we will prevail over this one. Win or lose. We are privileged to fight.

    • You should study the ugly history of Eugenics during the 1900-1940 period. Look at the prominent names of the big players (and their political affiliations) in Eugenics of then as some of the names are still playing Liberal elite politics today (the Rockefeller’s for one) . A true eye-opener to the world of Liberal elitism. Today the Liberal elites are endeavoring to go about world population control measures using energy rather than the ugly racism of eugenic ideas. Environmentalism has simply been hijacked for a deeper political power and economic control purpose.

  6. Did the Environment Protection Agency or the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety pay any fine for the Gold King Mine spill? Did they compensate Indian nations down the Animas river for poisoning their water source?

  7. Here in Southern Arizona we also have an on-going battle over a copper mine proposal in the Santa Rita mountains called the Rosemont Mine. A mine that would be a primary economic producer of good paying jobs with at least a 3 x fold multiplier in related jobs to support the mines and its employees, while lessening US dependence on imported copper.

    The legal and environmental battles are too complex to discuss in a short comment here on someone else’s thread, but suffice to say the Liberals, the Greens, the Democrats want to stop Rosemont Mine. Yet all of those groups demand the US do more to develop renewable power from solar photo-voltaic panels and wind turbines. They demand we cover vast desert landscapes in SoAz with many thousands of acres of black solar panels that keep the desert hot during the nights when it should be naturally cooling, yet no electricity is coming from the solar panels.

    Both of those (solar PV and turbine generators with copper windings and magnets) are significant consumers of copper, rare earth metals, and some precious metals (silver, gold, platinum) in their manufacture. Metals that do not just magically appear, but require significant fossil fuel expenditures for every pound of refined metal.

    The Greens and their political enabler Democrats are surely one of the dumbest of animals ever produced by nature.

  8. There is a reason for the separation of Church and State. History has shown time and time again that when Church and State are joined, the Church destroys the State.

    The problem is that Belief cannot be challenged by Facts. You cannot prove something doesn’t exist. So, as Bertrand Russell demonstrated, once you accept existence based on belief, you can prove anything to be true.

    We believe that a mine, pipeline, etc., will do harm. Prove that it will not. As has been seen in Canada, via a ruling from the Supreme Court, 7 years and $1 billion dollars was not sufficient for Kinder Morgan to prove this to the COurt’s satisfaction.

    As a result, the Taxpayers of Canada ended up buying a pipeline for $ 4.5 Billion with absolutely no guarantee that it will ever be built. How will the government prove that increased tanker traffic will not harm the whales? How will the government prove that the indigenous people are satisfied with the level of consultation?

    The only way the Pipeline is likely to go forward is for the Government of Canada to lend the whales and indigenous people $ 4.5 billion to buy the pipeline from Canada. Then the profits from the pipeline would go to improving conditions for the whales and native people’s.

    But of course this would be the end of private investment in Canada, because it would mean that the courts could be used to force a transfer of ownership based on environmental arguments. Very similar to what this article describes is happening in the US.

    • Fred nails the problem.
      Evidence based policy making evolved to avoid the mass hysterics of the past.
      Belief no longer cut it,prove it was the rule.
      Of course that rather limited the greedy and powerhungry.
      So we have seen the bureaus grow to rule all,with another state sanctioned religion,to save us from damnation,once again.

      They will save us all ,even if it means depriving us of life.
      Same people same M.O different guise.

      • Evidence based policy making ? unfortunately the Green Agenda simply reverses the process.

        Dr Matt Ridley referred to the IPCC process as “replacing evidence based policy making with policy based evidence making”.

    • Sounds like a corrupt policeman. They charge you with whatever they want and you have to prove that none of that happened in court at your expense. (I understand that this is also a problem in Russia, which is why everybody owns a dash cam (to prove their innocence in the face of corrupt police).

      People in positions of power must have oversight. Otherwise that power goes to their heads and they run with it. The media used to be the oversight of the government, but they are now complicit with the government corruption and destruction of society.

        • I have had one in my Chevy Silverado for almost a year now. Captures front and behind video in 1080p HD, with 5 minute files. The 64 GB SDHC card holds about 8 hours of 2 camera video before looping over and re-writing oldest files first. I carry a spare SDHC card in the center console to install in it in case I need to retain something important. The camera also had a g-shock sensor that when it records an impact above a threshold it saves the current running video files to a special folder.

          And almost every big rig 18-wheeler running on the US interstate highways these days has one to prevent such fraudulent insurance claims.

  9. Remember when the “Green” party started in Germany? When they had difficulty with people accepting their ideology they resorted to terrorism. Bombings, deaths, threats to peace. The weren’t ecologists. They were Marxists and spawned the whole “Green” movement today. They remain Marxists and have infiltrated America’s political system more than most people admit. Obama embraced the ideology and set into motion many edicts and agencies designed to strip Americans of their freedoms and personal property. Trump changed that direction and hopefully will continue to do so. Americans are naive when it come to the ideology of the “Green” movement. They really believe it’s about ecology and conservation.

    • Markl

      As an immigrant to the US from Germany I had an interest when Green Party politicians visited our campus in 1988. To me it seemed obvious that they were Marxists in a time when Marxism could no longer be defended. Same old solutions offered with a sprig of green. A year later we had the miracles in Europe. It will come again.

    • The Green movement in Germany was started as a KGB PsyOP and was funded and supported as a means to disrupt the western economies. In the realm of intelligence activities, this has to be the most profoundly successful operation, with the possible exception of the Strategic Defense Initiative, ever launched by any agency. The Soviet Union has been gone for about 20 years now and its still paying dividends for global communism to bring the workers’ paradise to all nations of the world.

      • In my experience, there are only two types of people who favor communism.
        Those who run it.
        Those who have never experienced it.

        • Bingo! Throughout my life I have known many people who escaped from Eastern Europe, China, Vietnam and Cambodia and they unanimously made the exact same statement.

          • not defending communism, but would you really call any of those countries truly communist? I live in a country which for the best part of forty years was ruled by a supposedly communist government but I actually saw very little communism in action. What I saw was a bunch of thieves/mafia stealing the wealth from the people while uttering empty socialist slogan which they never practiced themselves.

          • “thieves/mafia stealing the wealth from the people ” Answered your own question, good job. The man who taught me how to use and maintain an AK escaped East Germany at the age of 34, after a career in Grenztruppen der DDR, he spent a great deal of effort getting his family out before he left, and was targeted by STAZI afterwards. Ya know? Angela Merkel’s former employer? Hope that clears some things up for you.

          • My Macroeconomics professor wrote his research paper on The Economics of a Communist Society. He wouldn’t even talk about it ‘til near the end of the semester because he would need less explanation/justifying by that point. And he still began with the caveat that this was about a true commune where everyone works together for the good of the community. His conclusion was, in groups large than about 72 (and that was pushing it, he felt the real number was closer to 50, or even 36) a communist society cannot work. In a smaller group if a person chooses to goof off for a day they immediately see the extra work taken on by their spouse/children/aging parents/best friend… but when the group gets larger the extra work gets spread over more people or ones out of sight, or if they do notice their [person they care about] working harder they can make the excuse that someone else out of their sight was goofing off, but they themselves weren’t goofing off to an out-of-the-ordinary extent. Communism as a federal policy is doomed before it ever even begins. The USSR’s Collective Farms that were supposed to recreate the ethos of the commune were too large and were imposed upon groups of people with no prior relationship. So then it was imposed. At the point of a gun. Which had even less success, but it took 75 years before they conceded that point. So yeah, communism and Communism have very little, if anything, in common.

          • Over the years I have read many different items about collectivism and its high rate of failure. What is sad is anything written that proclaims the virtues and success of collectivism overwhelmingly teach or work in collages in capitalist countries.

          • Which is why he waited to the end of the class to talk about his paper. By that time we understood that he believed that the freest market was the best determination of value, that taxation was a necessary evil but there would always be discussions about how much should the government pay for (I’m pretty sure his opinion was, Not very much), and he wouldn’t have to argue for 45 minutes about what he really meant in his paper. He was basically openly telling us that communism as a form of federal “government” would always fail. Which makes him a minority amongst professors, I know.

          • I remember when people who taught at college level were actually intelligent. Who thought we would ever miss the ’70s?!?!?

    • I was 77 last Friday, but seem to remember (an American communist?)) called Petra Kelly who was the first so called green agitator in Germany.
      Can anyone confirm?

  10. Funny how concern for our shared environment metastasized into Gang Green.
    Power and money under the shroud of “for the common good”.
    Yes the bureaus are complicit in this abuse of the taxpayer,for this is what they do.
    “We are here to help you” Into poverty and servitude.

  11. Does your state have something like an auditor general? If the DRMS is actually incompetent, an auditor general (or equivalent) can blow the whistle. The opposition political party gets valuable ammunition and the ruling party gets serious motivation to prevent the issue from becoming an election issue.

  12. “All across the United States, private property rights are under assault”

    Mr Liukko
    “Private property rights” are only temporary contracts of guardianships. From time to time the contracts get revised, natural cycles, don’t you know. 🙂

    • Woody Guthrie:

      This land is your land, this land is my land
      From the California to the New York island
      From the Redwood Forest, to the gulf stream waters
      This land was made for you and me.

      Somehow, eminent domain as a concept has been hijacked and
      morphed from a property rights ideal into something much more
      proactive for the ecoFolks.

      • Interesting perspective. The original owners and the original settlers would have both viewed the land as something to cherish. Now it seems to have become an asset, a value, something that socialists want to take away from you. A temporary right, one that can be rescinded.

  13. Canadian mines require upwards of 30 permits from several levels of government and a number of agencies in order to go into production. Some require negotiating with ‘stakeholders’ (nearby communities, native peoples, etc.). An archeological investigation is even required. Some involve “best practices” used in developing reserves and resources, feasibility elements and reporting. A feasibility study must follow a template of chapters and each chapter must be listed with a note that as a minimum states that this topic is not applicable to the study. A fully funded reclamation plan, designed by a consulting engineering firm is de rigueur.

    This process is managed by consulting firms and, with exploration and development work -from first test drilling to production takes 8 to 10yrs. You complete the tasks satisfactorily and you get the permits. NGOs can and do have their say, miners make their responses, but regulators make the final decisions and they are not intimidated by extremists. The UN has even chosen the Canadian model for international practice and Canadian law requires Canadian companies operating abroad to employ the same standards.

    A little known fact inside and outside of the country is Canada is number one globally in mining. Of 1900 publically traded companies in the world,, 1350 of them are Canadian with assets of over $234B. By about 2005, Canadians funded over 70% of world mining exploration raised on Toronto and Vancouver stock exchanges. Since, this has declined to about half with mainly Australia taking a page out of Canada’s how-to-do notebook. Canada remains far and away the giant in mining with dominant holdings on every continent.

    • But Canadian mining is losing ground. For example, there’s a huge find of minerals in northern Ontario called the ‘Ring of Fire’ that is going nowhere (more than 10 years since it was found) because of environmentalism and an inabilty to deal with Aboriginals. One of the environmental issues is the presence of woodland caribou, a species protected under the Endangered Species Act. The official line is caribou are threatened by ‘climate change’ and industrial development (logging and mining). But the reality is that there are 30,000 caribou in Ontario and the main threat is unregulated hunting by Aboriginals, who can hunt them without a licence, at any time of the year and without limits on harvest levels. It is crazy, but symptomatic of the ‘deep green’ insanity inside goverment.

      • Actually Bruce, after 20years of ‘Liberal’ totalitarianism, it has gone from the mining (and all other industry) Mecca of Canada to a have not province. Quebec is a world leading mining jurisdiction and is also tough on environmental protection.

    • I think by now, we can state that this has always been the case. I believe more people have died by their own governments than have died in all the wars in all of history. Every government becomes paranoid of its own citizens; law, control, coercion and finally murder; seems to be the universal pattern.

    • MarkW:

      Imagine where we’d be if the Anti-Federalists hadn’t blackmailed the
      Constitutional Convention into agreeing to pass the Bill of Rights as a
      supplement to the Constitution.

    • Mark – “In way too many cases, government has become the enemy of the people.”

      Name a case where it hasn’t. It just takes time. Although some people don’t seem aware that they’ve become subjects to the government. I am amused that from time to time the French arise against their masters. Doesn’t seem to fit the stereotype….

      • Prior to the Civil War, the US was refered to as “These United States”.
        After the war the common expression had changed to “The United States”.

  14. ideologically driven bureaucrats have been handed the reins to regulate access into oblivion.

    Let’s hope they take full advantage of that access they have been handed, and jump right in!

    This is a travesty. The bunglers from DRMS and WPA responsible for King gold mine incident should be in jail themselves, not taking others to court.

  15. I keep thinking of that time 2000 years ago when Jesus was crucified between two thieves. Whatever you think of that dude in the middle, there are some characters in this story and comments who ought to be put to death. They won’t even do jail time unless some worse criminal in the government gets scared of exposure.

  16. sad thing is (well one of the many sad things…) is there is a difference between conservationism (being “good steward” of the land and environmentalism which uses laws to force others will upon people.
    sadly way too many people cannot tell the difference between the two anymore.

  17. In Ottawa, Blandings Turtles are the endangered species of choice. Report one of them and it will halt any development project in its tracks.

  18. Look at Germany in the 1920 tees, The Communists had by force taken over a democratic government, the Dum in St. Petersburg, and now wanted to spread in both the rest of Russia but also into Europe.

    The treaty of Versilless was a very bad one, mostly y driven by the French, who still remembered their defeat by Germany in 1870, the Franco-Prussian war.

    The Weimer government of Germany was not able to repay the massive payments demanded by the French, so inflation took place. and the economy collapsed.

    Then Wall Street happened, and it was just what Hitler wanted. The Nazi party was a very small socialist party which Adolf Hitler used to bring in his solution to the problem, but the big one was the growing threat of Communism. Hitler won and the rest as they say is history.

    Communism was crumbling when my wife and I visited the old USSR in 1988, and it was sad to see just how run down the country was.

    But the dream of those who want to control I us is still there, and unless we the people rise up and fight it, we will go down with it , just like the old USSR.

    Ironically the Green desire for renewables may be the straw which is needed to bring about their end. A modern civilisation cannot run on renewables, so when the lights do go out, we will like the French take to the streets.

    MJE

  19. Michael A. Lewis, PhD January 19, 2019 at 10:47 am
    Ah Hah! WUWT has joined the Tea Party ranks!

    PhD, huh, amazing what you can get on Amazon, how much did it set you back, Michael A. Lewis? If more than the shipping costs, you need to contact the proper authorities. And people complain about “Trump Univ.”
    Personally, you would have done better to invest your funds in a bubble gum machine or a box of Cracker Jacks. It’s not like you gained an education.

    michael

    sorry mods

  20. The problems caused by environmental meddlers into the mineral industries of the world are huge and the threat is largely misunderstood. It is a case of a large, popular movement “save the earth” style with childish average intellect, interfering with a small but highly-skilled industry (small numbers of employees) that now has the label of nasty, dirty, dangerous, a harm to environmental sustainability and the rest of these now-common, knee jerk descriptors.
    In 1972 I first met this problem with regard to the Ranger Uranium Mines in northern Australia, which colleagues had discovered in 1969. It was then, by far, the largest known uranium deposit in the world, at a time when many nuclear reactors were being built for peaceful electricity generation. With our in-house solicitor, I chronicled the events here:
    http://www.geoffstuff.com/munmarlary_legal.docx

    You have to know the terminology to understand this document, so I will use brief, plain language.
    From the very beginning, early 1970s, we found unexpected government resistance to our normal, further efforts to develop this place from a prospect to a productive mine, irrespective of the colour of politics in power at the time. Most of the obstruction came from erosion of principles of property rights. Some came from poisoning of the minds of local aborigines by the social history set from major universities.
    In the main, the obstruction came from successive acts and regulations that curbed our ability to do customary mining operations. The land around us was proclaimed a National Park, in 3 stages that finally totalled 19,800 square km (7,646 sq miles), more than the area of Massachusetts, USA. That took away our granted ability to explore further virgin country. Our original holdings were reduced to 79 square km, the Ranger Project area. Then, the United Nations came in with a proposal (demand?) to create a World Heritage Area over the Park. That was the bitter end. We retired with the tiny portion thrown to us like scraps to a dog and got on with the mining, resulting in this view taken a few years ago –
    http://www.geoffstuff.com/rangeraerial.jpg

    In hindsight, we were never going to win. It was a uranium discovery and already the greens hated uranium. It was remote, nearly uninhabited, so city folk deprived of freedom to move wanted it kept that way. New species were rapidly discovered in the region, existing species became threatened with rapid extinction. The aborigines, formerly just guys, girls, mates who shared normal discussions with us, were given reserved areas where we had to get permits to enter. On and on it went, one obstruction after another, one inquiry after another, one more fact-finding government mission after another, another day, another expensive court case ….
    Late in this harmful, destructive process, it started to become clearer who was pulling the strings. At first we thought, the NT Government, then the Federal Government in Canberra — but it went far deeper than that to the powers we now see wanting to have one world government, pushing the same way under the banner of climate change. Do not ever doubt that there are shadowy, wealthy figures behind the scenes, pushing and pulling, threatening, rewarding, persuading. We even had Al Gore visit Canberra and insist on some policy changes.
    As for us, the miners, who knows how much we lost. There was never talk of compensation. We had the makings of another mine at Ranger 4, but we lost it. On what we knew from drilling, I’d say half a billion $$$ went into the ether just at that one tiny spot.

    The lesson? Study property rights. Study the history of failed socialism, of failed communism, of failed Fabian movements. Beware of the political left. They have different moral principles. On the personal level, if you think your own work is threatened, beware of high-ranking officials who come out of nowhere and start talking about different directions, different ideals. Beware in particular those who seek to re-arrange interests in land, for land is the fundamental on which most change is made. Treat world heritage people with the disgust they deserve, for brainwashing your children and mine with images of beauty that they say need protection, when there is no unusual harm to them. Listen to hard science, reject the post-normal garbage that our academics are captured by, stick to facts.
    It is so sad when ignorance is allowed to dominate over common sense. Geoff.

  21. Sadly environmental fundamentalism now starts in schools, just take a look at a modern chemistry textbook, you will find it full of dire warnings about mining causing pollution, and general green propaganda about chemicals being the work of the Devil.

  22. Environmentalism began as a religion, in contrast to Conservationism.

    The one presumes that natural is good and right.
    The other, that nature is morally neutral.

    Mankind is some sort of unnatural bane, a curse (or in the current parlance) a virus, needing eradication.
    Or man is a part of nature (or biblically speaking, meant to be a steward), who can do evil, but ought not.

    Enviros believe that man should serve nature.
    People like those who created the national park system believe rather that we are to serve our fellow man, by conserving our natural endowments, for our neighbors and children.

    Environmentalists are evil, inhumane beasts, who wish death, disease, and poverty on others, typically those who are often only now making serious strides to exit such a world.

    -K

  23. I love the San Juan Mountain Area in Colorado and am very familiar with the damage that mining has caused – mostly in the past before their were regulations and enforcement to reduce risks to the environment. One cannot compare what was practice 60 years or more ago with a modern operation – they are night and day different.

    By allowing mining companies to just vanish without putting aside money for cleanup, the government is just as responsible for the cleanup mess as the mining companies. Miners did, after all, provide a valuable product that enriched the nation.

    Now the government is over-reaching, using the practices of the past they allowed to justify stifling amounts of regulation in the present. There needs to be a teaspoon of Common Sense added, but then I did use the term Government so forget that.

    The large sudden release of toxic chemicals in the abandoned mine discharge was purely caused by bad decisions, and purely by government regulators, but there are dozens (maybe hundreds) of abandoned mine shafts and many are leaking toxic water into the local environment. As long as they are left alone, the discharge rate is low enough to be less destructive, but go damning them up and letting it build up capacity and you are setting a ticking time-bomb in place. Treating the water as it comes out is the only logical approach if one wants to reduce the risk, but do NOT stockpile the toxic water. Treatment will be expensive, so if you can’t afford it, leave it alone.

    And if mining the minerals will not provide enough profit for setting aside cleanup funds, then leave the minerals alone. Someday they will be worthwhile.

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