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    Elton Brown letter TimberJay 4/9/2021

    Climate change makes mining more hazardous, too

    Elton Brown

    Letter to the Editor

    TimberJay April 9th 2021

    Two items in the New York Times about recent weather disasters caught my attention. The first explained why February’s severe arctic blast shut down the electrical grid in Texas, resulting in huge commercial and human losses: “The continent-spanning storms showed that American infrastructure wasn’t ready for climate change. Extreme weather is placing growing stress on a system that was built decades ago under the expectation that the environment around it would remain stable.”

    And, regarding Australia’s record-breaking flooding, following last year’s catastrophic wildfires, this analysis: “There is a very strong link between global warming and that intensification in rainfall,” said Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Center of Excellence for Climate Extremes at the University of New South Wales. “There’s good scientific evidence to say extreme rain is becoming more extreme due to global warming.” Australia’s conservative government – heavily resistant to aggressive action on climate change that might threaten the country’s fossil fuel industry – has yet to make that link.

    The Trump administration talked a lot about the need to update our country’s highways, bridges and water pipes – but kept kicking the can down the (crumbling) road. I am thankful that President Biden has made infrastructure a top priority and has proposed a serious, ambitious plan.

    What is increasingly obvious is that any new construction projects, whether public or private, must take into account the new normal of extreme weather events. Houses should no longer be built on flood plains nor ocean beach fronts. And, closer to home, any Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed mine should prove that the project can be done safely not just in average conditions but able to withstand our increasingly frequent “storms of the century.”

    For the foreseeable future, given this new unstable climate reality, the cost of building a
    copper-nickel mine which would assure protection of the BWCAW watershed from toxic, runoff, if even possible, would likely be prohibitive, canceling the company’s profit motive.

    Elton Brown
    Morse Twp.


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