Goodbye drinking water, hello cancer

Miners, thanks a million….25 million! Our gratitude to the Bureau of Land Management who, after a year of peaceful mining prohibition around the Grand Canyon established by Congress, has decided to reopen one of our country’s greatest treasures for total destruction. Yay!!! (note sarcasm)

Twenty five (25) million Americans are now in danger of losing their source of drinking water due to an approval for new uranium mining operations near the Grand Canyon. The Colorado River is in immediate danger as a result of this and, apparently, it’s the problem of 25 million local residents to find alternative resources. And why shouldn’t it be? After all, why would anyone ever expect the mining community to take responsibility for the destruction and pollution they cause? (insert eye roll here)

    Acid Mine Drainage in the Colorado River

Since mining conglomerates do not make it their business to explain to the everyday Joe or Jane how their operation works, I’ll briefly break it down for you:

Uranium mining, like most metal extraction, removes large masses of land through open-pit mining and processes the waste rock by heap and in-situ leaching; methods that leave behind tons of mine tailings teeming with radioactive and toxic materials that release into the air and seep into the ground water longer after the mine is done sucking the life out of our earth. It is known that these toxins cause various forms of cancer and neuropathic diseases. And from whom do they get permission to do all this?

The government of course!!! God bless America! (sigh)

Ironically, the government is spending $1 billion of our tax money right now cleaning up uranium mine waste in Utah. Go figure.

So what can you and I do about it? Believe it or not, there are a few things still in our control. Last week I signed a petition to remove mining permissions from this area. We only have one earth; no metal is worth this level of destruction and there must be pressure on mining companies to find more responsible ways of sourcing if we need it that bad. So, if it’s important to you that we protect our natural spring waters and avoid toxic diseases, follow these steps today:

  1. Speak your mind; tell Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, to stop this nonsense
  2. Protest with your buying habits; opt for 100% recycled metals jewelry and support jewelers that actively speak out against irresponsible mining
  3. Recycle your electronics to ensure that the metals we have already mined stay in active circulation. (see my article on e-recycling and get rewarded for recycling responsibly)  

Sources: EWG, Earthworks, BLM, Wikipedia

About the Author

Katherine DalPra is principal and lead designer for Green Diva Jewelry, an eco-friendly jeweler using exclusively recycled metals, sustainable elements and Fair Trade gems. She is an active voice in the industry opposing irresponsible mining.

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