Montana Outdoors

April 1, 2007

Made in China

Filed under: Conservation, Environment, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photos, Pictures — montucky @ 7:04 pm

Who would want to destroy this?

Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake, Western Montana

We see the words “Made in China” on products every day and by now we realize of course that this is a part of the globalization of business and manufacturing. The following story is about a tiny piece of that process which, as it turns out, involves five countries and has created great concern for conservationists and environmentalists across the world.

Cline Mining Corporation intends to develop a huge open-pit coal mine (the Lodgepole Mine) about 18 miles north of the U.S. border in Canada in a drainage that forms the headwaters of the North Fork of the Flathead River which is the western boundary of Glacier National Park and which flows south from there into Montana’s Flathead Lake, often described as the largest pristine lake in the nation.

Funding for this project is from Japan and Germany, and the 40 million tons of coal that they intend to haul away over the next 20 years will be exported to China for steel production.

The concern is that besides the destruction of an entire mountain and a huge area of beautiful wild country in British Columbia, waste from the Lodgepole Mine would almost certainly and quickly contaminate the Flathead River and Flathead Lake with heavy metals and other mining pollutants, creating a significant adverse environmental impact on the fish and wildlife of the entire region that cannot be mitigated, including those in Glacier National Park.

The Flathead Basin Commission website provides some great photos and information about the proposed site including scenes of another of Cline’s open-pit mines to show what the area would probably look like with the mine in place.

The proposed mine is being actively opposed by efforts at many levels, the most effective of which seems to be the one led by U.S. Senator Baucus from Montana. The best news at the moment described in this story in this morning’s Billings Gazette, is that Canada will now review the project at the federal level.

What can we do? If you are concerned, review the information in the previous and following links as well as any other information you can find, form your own opinion and voice it to your congressional representatives.

Other informative links:
Montana DNRC news release
Flathead Coalition
North Fork Preservation Assoc.
Washington Post
Missoulian

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