To the editor,
Michael Hannon's letter last week, "Mining piece fearmongering," asserts that "Gold crush" (Apr. 23, news) was "fearmongering," but his critique that the article made unfounded and vague claims is itself entirely unfounded and vague. Hannon writes "It's absurd to think that a new mine's impact on the environment will be the same as minesfrom 50 or 100 years ago---mining regulations in Canada have been changing since mining began, and are not some vestigial outpost of pre-Silent Spring thickheadedness." He's right on one point: There's nothing vestigial about the regulations or the damage still being wrought on the environment here and abroad---why does he think companies are still being sued for million-dollar remittances to clean up mining sites? Why don't we mine for uranium in his back yard if he's so confident about all mining regulations?
His claim that regulations have been changing "since mining began" sounds like a sloppily written high school research presentation and is contradicted by his own subsequent reference to Silent Spring. Were the regulations changing in a meaningful way, or were they the bleak reality that would necessarily precede a claim to anything vestigial?
"If it can't be grown, it must be mined" is a negligent, neoliberal, profit-hungry economic philosophy that poorly justifies purchasing gold and supporting Canadian mining corporations that change their names practically every other year. Destroying human populations and habitats is not looked upon fondly by the general population that finds it truly "absurd" that gold is worth more than our world. I challenge Hannon to do real research on current mining conditions and to pay a visit to villages decimated by gold mining.
---Matthew Tobiasz, Halifax