Monday, June 22, 2009

Toxic Legacy

Today Chief Justice Roberts' coathanger court ruled that mine waste can be dumped into an Alaskan lake even though the wastes are poisonous to fish. The previous maladministration had overturned existing Clean Water legislation by giving authority to the Corps of Engineers rather than its gutted version of EPA.

The resulting finding of the Corps was with the Coeur d'Alene Company that holds the rights to the gold mine. The company has concerns only for its operations, and argues that the least expensive way to dispose of wastes is dumping it into the lake.

This contradicts general practice which does not allow destruction of lakes for the purpose of business convenience in handling its byproducts. Only during the previous, war criminal, executive branch's rampant betrayal of public interest, was destroying the environment considered acceptable as business procedure.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday for Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp (CDE.N) by upholding a government permit that will allow the company's Alaska gold mine to deposit rock waste into a lake on federal land.

In a closely watched environmental case, the justices overturned a U.S. appeals court ruling that had invalidated the permit for Coeur's underground Kensington Gold Mine northwest of Juneau.

In 2005, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted the company's Alaska unit a permit to put 4.5 million tons of rock waste, or mine tailings, into the lake over a decade.
"The Clean Water Act was intended to halt the practice of using lakes, rivers, and streams as waste dumps," said Tom Waldo, who argued the case. "Today's decision does not achieve these purposes."

The officials said the Bush administration rule giving the Corps of Engineers authority in such matters had reversed thirty years of successful regulation under the Clean Water Act. They urged President Barack Obama to act immediately to repeal the rule.

The preservation of our earth requires the president to overrule the previous maladministration and prevent this atrocity. There is no public interest served in laying waste to the country for convenience of businesses. The profits earned by the mining will well cover the costs of paying the expenses of operation, with gold now at record highs (today $920 an ounce).

The present composition of the Supreme Court is another toxic legacy of the maladministration.

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