Out of sight, out of mind??

You know, I thought we were past the point in this culture that we figured water resources could serve as bottomless pits for our toxic waste, but apparently not everybody is on the same page.

A mining company in Alaska has petitioned the Supreme Court for permission to dump toxic mining tailings into a nearby lake, even though that action would kill every living thing in the whole body of water. Their reasoning is that, when they're done, they could just restock the lake with "no harm done". Apparently Justice Antonin Scalia is down with this proposal, going on record with this gem: "Isn't it arguable that the best place for really toxic stuff is at the bottom of a lake so long as it stays there?"

No, Mr. Scalia. I would argue there isn't really a "best place" to put toxic waste to begin with. Leaving all our crap at the bottom of some lake in Alaska doesn't make it go away. For reference, I'd point you in the direction of the Great Lakes -- supposedly the biggest freshwater deposit in the world -- and you can't even swim in them anymore, thanks to people like you who figure that out of sight equals out of mind.

Thankfully, some level heads have recognized the importance of this issue -- a positive ruling in favour of the miners would set a precedent throughout the United States basically saying it's fine to use lakes, streams and rivers as industrial dumping grounds. But the overwhelming ignorance of some of the top minds on this case give me pause. Justice John Roberts, for example, seems to think that as long as the fish in question aren't on the endangered list, it's no big loss -- "[t]here are millions of them somewhere else, right?"

Yeah, there are, but if this motion gets passed, it won't be for long. To my American readers -- if you have any interest at all in making sure your drinking water isn't full of mining material, you might want to contact your local government representative and show a little support for the environmental initiative here. Let's try to keep our water clean and our fish alive and swimming, shall we?

See the story here.

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