This year, the book “Boom, Bust, Boom: A story about Copper, the Metal that Runs the World” was published by Bill Carter. The book highlights our civilization’s historical reliance on copper and makes the connection that renewable energies require a significant amount of copper. The author puts it quite elegantly, “..today’s economic and political shift toward renewable energy creates a strange dilemma for environmentalists. Wind and solar energy require massive amounts of copper, which means more open-pit mines.”
Carter also has published an article in the Huffington Post, “The Hidden Cost of Going Green” that ties together our demand for copper with the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska. The article accurately mentions the need for copper to quench our demand for renewable energies and states that as world demand for copper increases we projected to be using 27 million tons of copper by the year 2020.
The article loses its accuracy during its attack on the Pebble Mine. The article states, “the Pebble Mine will destroy up to 87 miles of salmon streams and 4,300 acres of salmon wetlands.” This statement is based on a short sighted, rushed and inadequate Bristol Bay watershed assessment by the Environmental Protection Agency, who has attempted to assess a vast watershed, based on a hypothetical mine that could not be permitted under current environmental regulations. Pebble has yet to publish a mine plan and has spent 5 years and over $120 million in environmental and socio-economic studies that the EPA has attempted in undermine in a few short months.
The permitting process is in place to approve and also deny proposed mine projects. If the Pebble mine cannot meet the environment requirements, it will not be permitted. What is the rush in vetoing the Pebble Mine? This could be an opportunity to test our environmental regulations, discover where they are lacking and improve them. Shouldn’t environmental regulations apply to everyone including the local fishing operations?
The importance of domestic mineral production like the Pebble Project doesn’t just affect us locally – true environmentalists should consider the benefits of mining in America and the costs of mining outside U.S. environmental jurisdiction. If we don’t mine it here, other countries like China, who do not have the same high environmental regulations, will mine it and may contaminate heavily. What are the environmental costs of mining it outside of the US?
The Pebble Partnership has the right to prove they can mine it safely and protect the Bristol Bay Watershed. The scare tactics of the EPA and environmentalists only halt development and the chance to innovate our technologies and environmental protection practices.
To learn more about the Pebble Mine please visit PebblePartnership.com