It’s The Wording, Stupid!

I really would prefer to think that just enough of us are paying at least enough attention that governments couldn’t even begin to think of pulling these kinds of fast ones on us in the 21st Century.

One of the biggest traditional problems for the mining industry has been what to do with its waste (mainly toxic) materials. And traditional they were usually able to just dump “tailings” in the nearest waterway or create slag heaps in nearby forests or fields. But damn it if all those treehuggers haven’t demanded that the mining industry, among others, no longer be able to dump in waterways that have fish in them.

Of course the mining industry, like most huge industries, are powerful lobbyists who usually have the ear of government close to their concerns. In Canada  last year they managed to inspire  Harper’s  “Conservatives” to refer to a number of lakes in the country not as lakes, but as  “tailing impoundment areas”. Impressive concept shifting I have to admit. You can read more about the lakes here.

The mining industry in the US has also been busy searching for ways to get those natural fresh water lakes put to a more a practical use such as toxic waste dumps. Sarah Palin has supported the mining industry in Alaska on the issue of dumping waste into freshwater lakes. ” To get around a 1982 Environmental Protection Agency rule forbidding the dumping of mine wastes into waterways, the Bush administration thumbed its nose once more at environmental concerns and simply redefined the mine’s leftovers as “fill.” However, the previous definition of fill was usually benign rubble used for such things as jetties not toxic waste in the form of mine tailings.” Rest of story here.

Tailing Pond

Tailing Pond

Photo: Dru Oja Jay

“No TV crews allowed, no reporters, no pictures are to be taken of the most infamous tailings pond on earth after a flock of 500 ducks landed — and drowned — in Syncrude toxic “tailing pond” (shown here), a vast lake more than four kilometres across. Tim Gray, corporate security adviser for Syncrude Canada, sent out a confidential e-mail memo to staff that says: “Although this is certainly a very sad incident, it is our responsibility to ensure that the best interests of Syncrude are maintained.” “Taken here.

 

Who could possibly be upset because a bunch of “fill” is being dumped at a “tailing impoundment area?”  Yea, it’s all in the wording, stupid!

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