Cyanide Ban Clarification
supporter
Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+18248) 11 years ago
Although it doesn't affect Miles City much, I urge everyone who cares about mining in Montana to take a moment and urge Governor Schweitzer to sign SB 306, which clarifies that yes indeed, ore can be trucked to the Golden Sunlight mill at Whitehall to be vat leached and refined into gold bullion.

http://www.montanamining....ill_SB_306

While I thought this bill to be a no-brainer, the MEIC and their lackeys (e.g., Trout Unlimited) have started a spirited opposition to this bill, which has been passed by both the house and senate. Their arguments are pretty much lies and innuendo (unless gold reaches $10,000 an ounce, in which case I am full of sh&t). Anyways, gold mining is good for the state so please urge the Governor to sign this bill. Thank you.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12372) 11 years ago
Isn't this designed to overturn a voter's initiative the passed a few years ago?

No matter where I stand on an issue, it irks me when the Lege announces that the voters are morons and their will should be ignored.
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Posted by Big Dave (+436) 11 years ago
So Amorette, when the legislature clarifies, amends, overturns a law that was passed in a previous legislature, are they calling those legislators from that time morons? Is it possible for the voters of Montana to pass a bad law? Or a law with unintended consequences that aren't fully realized until it is implemented? What about MMJ? You seemed to be in favor of tinkering with it yesterday.

From my perspective, I think the referendum process is important part of the checks and balances system of state government. The people can vote on issues of importance if, in their belief, the legislator has not or will not act on them.

Having said that, the referendum process is a poor way to make laws. In the legislature, bills are proposed, vetted, amended, testified upon, reconsidered, and reread numerous times. In the end this should result in all of the information that needs to be considered about a proposed law being considered and included in the law. With a ballot initiative, that process does not exist. Come up with an idea, write it down, gather enough signatures and it hits the ballot, never to be altered. Then everyone chooses sides and starts spending big bucks to convince voters with ads that the world will come to an end if the initiative passses/fails. And if it needs fixed, the legislature can't touch it or they will be called jerks for not listening to the will of the voters.

In general most ballot initiatives just make me angry, because I don't think as a population we all do a good job of considering all the information when we make a decision, rather we listen to whatever half truths we like to hear. And when that decision has been made, it's almost impossible to change. So what's the legislature to do if there is some logic in changing an initiative?
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3714) 11 years ago
After living in California for 10 years with the ballot proposition system they have there, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the voters are, if not morons, at least not very good at making laws.
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Posted by Art (+206) 11 years ago
Well said, Big Dave.
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+18248) 11 years ago
The "will of the voters" was that no new heap leach pads using cyanide solutions to recover gold would be constructed in Montana. This bill does not change that.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12372) 11 years ago
Of course it is possible for the voters to pass a bad law. It is certainly possible of the voters to elect bad legislators. This year proves that. But should the Lege completely negate the will of the people with the assumption that the people are too stupid to know what they want or is there a better way?

I like to think some of the voters aren't idiots. In fact, I think some of the voters are a damn sight smarter and better educated than our current crop of legislators.

When it is appropriate for the will of the people to rule and when it is appropriate for the Lege to invalidate that will? What standard is used? If you agree with it, then it was a wise vote of the people. If you oppose it, then the people are idiots.

The Lege keeps giving lip service to respecting the will of the people and then turning around saying, nah, the people are morons. We know what is best. Know what? The Lege are just people, too.

Why not just negate people's initiatives entirely since the Lege seems to feel they are put forth and passed by idiots. Or would the Lege hesitate to state that frankly; that they do not trust the people to run their own state.

Being in the Lege doesn't make anyone smarter or better or wiser or morally superior to the people who elected them. Maybe the Lege could consult with the people before they start ignoring them.
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Posted by souix (+303) 11 years ago
This mine has a sordid history that includes a 19-million-gallon spill of cyanide-laced water (no enforcement action was taken by the State) and an engineering fiasco that caused the earth to move beneath the 900,000 gallon vats in which the ore is processed with cyanide to remove the gold. The mine was shut down for months while the land was stabilized. And again, no enforcement action was taken by the State.


http://meic.org/mining/ha...light-mine
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+18248) 11 years ago
Yawn. Ancient history. The "19 million gallon spill" was actually an estimated quantity of leakage from a tailings impoundment....

....in 1983.

Yes, that's right. 1983. The mine changed their operations so that the cyanide is destroyed before tailings is slurried into the impoundment. That change happened 20 years ago.

The earthmovement also happened along time ago, as a result of the weight of the waste rock dump on the Bozeman formation. That too has been corrected. It had nothing to do with vat leach operation, which has been operating with no problems for more than decade.

Typical MEIC propoganda. Who are you going to believe? Me, a professional engineer with 25 years of experience in mine closures?



Or the MEIC?
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Posted by Ingird Emilsson (+212) 11 years ago
I believe you especially since cyanide when exposed to sunlight will break down.
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Posted by Jeri Dalbec (+3262) 11 years ago
I am reading "The Weather Makers" by Tim Flannery. Some food for thought.
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Posted by souix (+303) 11 years ago
Gunnar,

I appreciate that you are an engineer and know more than I. The difficulty that I have is, every company assures us that "it is completely safe" until it isn't. The deep water wells were completely safe, until there was human error. Fracking is safe, until we discover that this process causes earthquakes. Frankly, I really have a difficult time believing anything industry tells the public, as they are concerned with making money.

We have companies that extract natural resources then fail to hold up their end of the bargain, like reclamation. So as a member of the public, who cares about the environment that my children will inherit, pardon me if I am not a believer when an industry tells me it is totally safe.

By the way the last incident at Sunlight Mine was in 2000.

http://meic.org/2011-leg...nlight.pdf
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Posted by Big Dave (+436) 11 years ago
So, if the voters pass a bad law or have not adequately considered all the consequences, the legislature has no choice then but to decide the electorate is stupid and change a law.

My problem is this, a ballot initiative represents an up or down vote on a law written one way without opportunity to amend or change it in process - doesn't make much sense. Both sides spew mountains of misinformation trying to sway votes. Consequently I do not think voters make good decisions on ballot initiatives because they do not properly consider the information. It would be interesting to know how many voters actually read the entirety of an initiative and the associated published voters guide. Instead those decisions are made based on political ads based on fear or half-truths. I always thought that was why we elected legislators - to consider all of the information and vote accordingly. Don't like the way they do that - elect new ones.
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Posted by Joe Smity (+104) 11 years ago
"Frankly, I really have a difficult time believing anything industry tells the public"

Good! Do the research, find the hard data, apply critical thinking and come to an intelligent conclusion based on sound reasoning.

"Fracking is safe, until we discover that this process causes earthquakes."

Unlike this conclusion.

See the statement above. Quit listening to the wild a55ed media spin and FUD.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12372) 11 years ago
I read the voters guides and if I am undecided on a subject, I do not vote on it. I consider being a well-informed voter my primary civic duty. But I am also a fast and comprehensive reader and, let's face it, those voter's guides are sometimes written in super obtuse English to make it difficult for a voter to make a choice.

Still, supposedly, votes count. Except when they don't.
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Posted by Big Dave (+436) 11 years ago
So what's the solution to the electorate making an uninformed or misinformed decision? Do we toss another one on the ballot in 2 years?

In the end my point is this. Let's not castigate the legislature for taking up issues around ballot initiatives. They are laws just like any other that sometimes need changing or overturning. Criticism of the legislature is fair and justified on a variety of other fronts, but in my opinion the ballot initiative deserves the same scrutiny as any other law and when legislators consider them they are doing the job they were elected to do.
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Posted by aaron bruce (+194) 11 years ago
amen gunnar...
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 11 years ago
When it is appropriate for the will of the people to rule and when it is appropriate for the Lege to invalidate that will?


But if it's five robed liberals instead of two houses of congress (along with the consent of the Governor), then it's all good
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+18248) 11 years ago
Hmmm....where to start? Lets start here.

I said
It had nothing to do with vat leach operation, which has been operating with no problems for more than decade.


and sioux said
By the way the last incident at Sunlight Mine was in 2000.


I'll let you do the math....

Amorette said:
But should the Lege completely negate the will of the people with the assumption that the people are too stupid to know what they want or is there a better way?


Again, this bill simply clarifies the language of the ban. It has nothing to do with negating the will of the people.

Why did this come up? The New World project. You may recall many years ago, there was a gold mine proposed near Cooke City that had the MEIC's head spinning. "Oh no, we can't mine gold next to Yellowstone Park!" And ole Bill Clinton bought it. Part of the deal that was worked out (besides the state getting the Otter Creek coal tracts) was that the state would also clean up historic mine tailings along Fisher Creek in the New World Mining District.

Rather than build another mine waste depository up there, the state thought they would ship the historic mine wastes to Golden Sunlight, where they would be vat leached to recover gold and properly disposed at the mine. The state would get some money to offset their cleanup costs, Golden Sunlight would make a little money processing the gold, and no mine waste repository would be constructed in the pristine Beartooth Mountains. Sounds like a win-win for everyone? Well....except for the MEIC. "They are subverting the will of the voters!"

And so it goes...
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 11 years ago
It's important to remember that the Montana Constitution allows for legislative amendments to the Constitution just as much as it does for amendment by initiative. There's nothing in there that says a ballot amendment initiative is legally any more protected than legislative amendment.

Once ratified, all language is equal, regardless of where it came from. And all is equally subject to further amendment (by either approved process)
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Posted by souix (+303) 11 years ago
Gunnar,
My point was that nothing is absolutely safe. What harm would come to our environment if we had an incident, say every 11 years?

Joe Smity,
Good! Do the research, find the hard data, apply critical thinking and come to an intelligent conclusion based on sound reasoning. Unlike this conclusion.

See the statement above. Quit listening to the wild a55ed media spin and FUD.

Perhaps you should take your own advice!

http://www.geography.siu....kansas.pdf
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Posted by Dark Beer (+255) 11 years ago
I have alway been amazed/amused at how when doing a baseline environmental study you will find spots where the topsoil is eroded away and has exposed some very acidic soil complete with 4-o'clocks growing and everyone is a amazed/excited by the diversity. But if a mining company tries to convince a regulatory agency to recreate that type of feature, it is an environmental catastrophe.
~~~~~
My point was that nothing is absolutely safe. What harm would come to our environment if we had an incident, say every 11 years?


No, nothing is absolutely safe. Even living in caves has environmental consequences. So I guess this is another problem with no solution?
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For the sake of Montana's economy, the SB 306 ought to become law. Please contact the Governor and encourage home to support this legislation.
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Posted by Joe Smity (+104) 11 years ago
"http://www.geography.siu.edu/pdfFil.../ShakingArkansas.pdf"

Here, I'll connect the dots for you. Notice in this document a key word, hypothesis?

Hypothesis does NOT mean theory.
Theory does NOT mean proven to be fact.
ergo
Hypothesis does NOT mean proven to be fact.

Where is the hard evidence that provides causative proof to support their claim?
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12372) 11 years ago
Always remember, a buck earned now is worth 100 times what it will cost to pay for that buck down the road.
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Posted by Buck Showalter (+4462) 11 years ago
Is that good or bad?
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Posted by souix (+303) 11 years ago
As for the study:
The standard deviational ellipses showed that when compared to the old earthquakes, the new pattern shows a difference of rotation. Visually when compared to the gas well ellipse, the new earthquakes appear to be influenced by the occurrence of natural gas wells rather than the location of old quakes.
Local Moran I revealed that there was no spatial autocorrelation for the new earthquakes whereas a similarity in term of magnitude appeared between the old clustered earthquakes. Knowing that the old earthquakes are natural events, the difference between the new earthquakes could be due to another factor causing the new earthquakes not following a natural process.


Injecting massive amount of water into the earth.not a natural event. This is the only recent change in to area. Therefore, this could be the cause of the new earthquakes.

Even the companies believe that there is a cause/effect.

http://planetsave.com/20...suspended/

Other site for you to peruse:

http://www.donnan.com/Ma...ickory.htm
http://63.134.196.109/doc...mments.pdf

Thanks for the offer, but I can connect my own dots!
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+18248) 11 years ago
Same question I had, Buck.
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Posted by Joe Smity (+104) 11 years ago
"Thanks for the offer, but I can connect my own dots!"

Sorry to hear that you failed logic class!

Probability is NOT proof.
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Posted by souix (+303) 11 years ago
Some people do not need to get hit with a brick!

I would bet you are the type that thinks that burning coal is good for the environment, too!
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Posted by Bridgier (+9469) 11 years ago
In all things, there is a tension.

Is burning coal good for the environment? Certainly not. Please tell me what the currently viable alternative energy source is that will allow us to maintain our current standard of living.

...
...
...

Exactly. Just as the Iron Triangle of Software (Reliability, Speed, Cost: pick two) demands that concessions to reality be made, so to the maxim of "There's No Such Thing As A Free Lunch" demands that we choose between cheap consumer goods and environmental degradation.

Until we perfect the process whereby the secret of cold fusion is extracted from the blood of magical ponies, we must burn hydrocarbons to extract energy. We need energy to make our stuff go. Until we decide that we either want less stuff that goes or just stuff that goes less, we need to burn hydrocarbons to extract energy. It's a somewhat vicious circle.

Personally, I think we're procreateed, and that peak oil will be amazingly disruptive to our way of life. We'll probably respond to it by... burning more coal to make up the shortfall. In the end, I imagine a lot of people will starve to death surrounded by stuff that will no longer go.

I would love to see people applying engineering principles and reason to the problems facing us in both the near and the far term. I would be ecstatic if we could have a discussion where we recognize the costs associated with energy extraction, and balance them against the needs and wants of our lifestyle choices. Unfortunately , we are ruled by fools, selected by an electorate that is, if possible, an even greater collection of fools and idiots.

But hey, how about that Ipad 2? Isn't that an amazing piece of consumer electronics?
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Posted by Joe Smity (+104) 11 years ago
@Bridgier
THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE!!!
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Posted by Joe Smity (+104) 11 years ago
"I would bet you are the type that thinks that burning coal is good for the environment, too!"

Good for the environment? No, not so much. But I caution you now, don't open that door.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+15369) 11 years ago
Ummm.... Anyone who tries to justify their position on MC.com using the "local moran 1" statistic ought to expect to be treated with suspciation.

Just saying.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 11 years ago
Good to see the Malthusian dispensationalism in full swing again.

The problem with our situation is that we keep comparing that which is achievable today, blemishes and all, with some future panacea where energy will be created from thin air at no cost and with no ill effects.

The reality is that real progress is made incrementally. And the less work we do with the technology at our disposal today, the less likely it is that we'll progress to something more rainbow or unicorn-powered tomorrow.

Our problems with energy development are a lot like the kinds of problems any perfectionist can relate to. The fear of a non-perfect solution leads to no solution, while in reality the best solution has to be found with some degree of motion or progress.

[This message has been edited by Rick Kuchynka (4/11/2011)]
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Posted by Joe Smity (+104) 11 years ago
"Anyone who tries to justify their position on MC.com using the "local moran 1" statistic ought to expect to be treated with suspciation."

You made me laugh out loud with this Richard!
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+18248) 11 years ago
Well, the governor vetoed this bill yesterday. Too many tree huggers out there, I guess.
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Posted by Joe Smity (+104) 11 years ago
Never let facts and reasoned argument get in the way of a popular political decision! Economic consequences and facts be damned, lets do what makes some of us feel good!

Have you hugged your spotted owl today?
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