I would rather they wouldn't wantonly destroy these places that harbor gold and happen to be underneath or in very near proximity to very precious salmon and steelhead streams. But simply because something is a foregone conclusion, Midas Gold will get the approval to attempt to extract what they believe is $11 billion in gold and other minerals from the Golden Meadows project at the old Stibnite site east of Yellow Pine in my home county of Valley County, Idaho, does not mean you roll over and let it happen and it does not mean you fall on your sword and attempt in vain to stop it. We must adapt our position to create the best possible outcome in light of the reality that a lot of companies get to lower mountains, raise valleys and relocate streams. Capiche???
They plan to de-water the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River (what does that mean?) Well, I've explained this before back in that mitigate post. Anyway, what they want to do (you see gold is sitting there underneath the stream bed) is move the stream from its natural course and run it through a tunnel through or next to a mountain. For the salmon that spawn above this proposed tunnel it will be like my family road trips to New Jersey when we went through the tunnels in Pennsylvania. No, it won't be like that at all. It will be horrible, but I already know that the mining law of 1872 trumps endangered species (what doesn't these days?) Mining companies do this all the time, you see, they need to get around those diabolical "obstacles" like the Clean Water Act or the Endangered Species Act or whatever and so they come up with the most imaginable ways to avoid the fines. Next time you are in the middle of nowhere and you happen upon a concrete ditch, chances are good some mining company put that in place to avoid the water going over all the toxic waste tailings (yes, those tailings you are standing on wondering why someone built a lovely concrete ditch in the middle of nowhere).
So, what we need to do is at the very least maintain our dignity when these Canadian (because they make it easier to organize a mining company) mining companies come down here to the lower 48 or over in Alaska or if they go to Hawaii to take our natural resource wealth and remove it at our expense and their enrichment, we need to put things in place that at the very least are our best attempt to secure the very best companies are the only companies that can do this.
This is why counties like mine, Valley County, and states like mine, Idaho, and countries like mine, USA, USA, USA, need to enact whatever they need to enact to ensure that some hefty royalties are paid to you and me for any mineral or other natural resource extraction by any company and especially by foreign companies who literally are (how do I say this to get a segment of the population that normally roll their eyes at me to hop on board? where was I?) who literally are redistributing our wealth to less wealthy nations. Yes, now you see the American flag flying behind me, don't you? Well, some of you are slower on the uptake.
Foreign companies and domestic ones have been extracting our collective (sorry, I never should have used that word) wealth and we aren't getting much for that. They are doing it all over this country and we just sit around wondering why we are pathetically and woefully in debt and lamenting the lack of a new real estate bubble. We just sit around going we are an immensely rich nation and one party (the one's who disagree with me the most) has a solution (which isn't one) to open even more land to more resource extraction without getting anything in return beyond short-term (non-union, which means poor pay and benefits) jobs. I'm not even sure many in the other party (that probably agrees with me a lot here) has even thought of this business of setting up proper royalty payments for any mineral or resource extraction and also the establishment of proper bonds to ensure when these companies go belly up (many do) you and I aren't footing the bill to clean it up (like we did the last time at Stibnite, some $13 million on that one creek and it ain't all cleaned up yet). I have the DVD at home, yes, someone actually filmed it, sorry to say you footed the bill for that film too.
So, you can discount me as off my rocker or you can think for a second. Number one, we don't want fly by night operations taking risks they have no means to cover destroying our natural heritage (royalties and appropriate bonding ensure they can't participate). Next, we don't want perfectly healthy companies to structure themselves in such a way so as to extract all the wealth from us and then have their acting subsidiary go belly up after the last transfer payment is made to the head company leaving us the taxpayer with the bill to clean up their mess (it does happen people, like all the time, so wake up). Setting appropriate bonds (and those bonds are larger than anything being asked of these companies by our federal agencies even though the ones today are higher than they were 15 years ago) fixes that problem.
If we don't change the 1872 mining law (and there is little to no talk to do so) then we must acknowledge mining is going to occur, but it sure as hell does not have to occur in the manner the company first proposes.
Royalties and bonds are the two best insurance policies to ensure we get the best there is in the world of mining (which ain't great but better than the fly by night operations financing this crap on credit cards that we allow to traipse about our national forests and BLM lands) and we must also hold our managing agencies' feet to the fire to ensure these operations and their proposals are audited line by line from an environmental standpoint and changed to create the proposal with the least amount of environmental destruction and the least amount of environmental disaster risk. And we must further hold our federal agencies' personnel to the fire when it comes to monitoring these projects far more thoroughly than anyone in that business has even imagined.
To those who scream, "that will make it too expensive," EXACTLY, if they can't afford 10-15 percent royalties and a bond of 15 percent of the proposed value of the extraction, then they shouldn't be turning over dirt in our forests. To those who scream, "we need the jobs!" We need our dignity more. And I promise you will see better jobs all around you the second you start standing up for yourself and not just accepting the first offer from these companies. (Someone out there is yelling at their computer screen about tax base, well, hold on junior, tax base additions aren't a foregone conclusion considering every time you turn around some politician or body of politicians are waiving whatever tax obstacles that stand in the way of this or that fly-by-night organization that can't bear to make a simple tax payment after extracting $11 BILLION DOLLARS FROM YOU AND ME WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY DIDDLY SQUAT!!! I hope that was clear. Was it?
It takes better politicians, too. They probably have to enact some things to make all this possible, and in Idaho they typically don't enact much, most opinions issued by courts here have to do with Idaho being silent on the subject. Well, Idaho politicians can sit around wondering why we have all these resources and no money and the ruling party can claim it is due to too much federal encroachment in our business, or they could go about putting appropriate policies in place that ensure the people of Idaho get proper payment for allowing others to come in here and take our resources. There is a better way, but people actually have to do something for that to happen (and they are people in government, so it's probably a non-starter in Idaho).