Sunday, November 22, 2009

BLM Inaction on Mining Cleanup Delays Restoration

A dispute between the EPA and BLM is bogging down cleanup at the states most toxic former mine site. Formosa Mine on Middle Creek, a Rogue River tributary has been closed since 1993 and is leaching thousands of gallons of toxic mine runoff into the creek annually. Still the BLM denies any of the contamination is coming from their land despite the fact that their land contains thousands of feet of the former mine's tunnels. The EPA, the agency required for studying and implementing the cleanup will not go forward testing necessary to begin the cleanup until BLM acknowledges its responsibility and committs funding for the cleanup effort. Meanwhile run off from the mine has poisoned Middle Creek and its South Fork, completely sterilizing the streams which were once prolific producers of both Coho and Steelhead.

The Japanese mining company which formerly owned Formosa long ago went through bankruptcy meaning the public is saddled with funding the cleanup of a superfund site with no recourse against the company. This is a perfect example of why people oppose mining operations like this. The company exploits the resource at marginal profit but with huge environmenta costs that it will never pay for. Then the public is responsible for the costly cleanup at huge cost.
Everyday Formosa mine produces enough acid runoff to fill two tanker trucks.

More information in the Oregonian

Also a good article about the Formosa Mine's impacts from Flux

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