September 20, 2011 |
This far-flung capital of Nevada's Gold Belt is booming - very, very reluctantly. With the price of gold in the stratosphere, the mine-chiseled corner of northeastern Nevada is scrambling to fill thousands of jobs, while newcomers to the barren region beg for somewhere to sleep. The motels: sold out. The apartments: good luck. The RV parks: get in line. Nevada churns out more gold than all but four nations. The Elko area's 7.4% jobless rate is about half that of the once-thriving Las Vegas region.
June 2, 2011 |
Wang Wenlin and his family have eked out a living for decades farming and herding sheep and cattle on the vast, unforgiving Inner Mongolian steppes. But the opening three years ago of a nearby colliery and railway line to transport coal across his grazing land has squeezed Wang's livelihood. "My animals only have so much land to graze," said Wang, who earns about $9,000 a year. "In the winter, I'm cut off from the closest city. When it's windy, we get covered in coal dust because it's an open mine.
January 30, 2003 |
A federal appeals court in Charleston has overturned a ruling prohibiting the government from issuing permits to dispose of waste from mountaintop mining operations into streams. The decision said U.S. District Judge Charles Haden's ruling last year restricting the Army Corps of Engineers was overly broad. The mining industry has increasingly relied on the practice of removing mountaintops to expose coal seams, then dumping the excess rock and dirt into nearby valleys, often covering streams.
May 1, 2002
Regarding the new, drafted rule that would permit coal and hard-rock mining companies to continue piling leftover rock and dirt into nearby streams and valleys (April 26), Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman remarked, "It's not a giveaway to the mining industry. It doesn't allow activity that isn't already underway." Well! How many other practices should we allow because that's the way they're being done, regardless of damage? When something is wrong, saying it's the usual practice doesn't make it right.
September 7, 2008
Re "Sheep are losing ground," Sept. 2 Explaining the plan to cut critical protected habitat for endangered bighorn sheep in half, Jane Hedron, spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says "critical habitat is habitat considered essential for the recovery of the endangered species. It is not intended to include the entire range of a species." Well, with that kind of logic, why not just reduce the size of the sheep's recovery area to a couple of acres in a zoo somewhere?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 12, 1994
The death of legislation to reform the 1872 mining law comes as an intolerable shock (Sept. 30). For 122 years, the American people have been royally ripped off by the mining industry. Each year, these giant corporations, many of them foreign, take billions of dollars in gold, silver, copper and other minerals that belong to Americans, and pay nothing to the U.S. Treasury. What do they leave behind on the nation's heritage of public lands? Poisoned drinking water wells, dead rivers, and moonscapes of gaping holes that could bury the Empire State Building.