To the editor:
In the July 25th edition of the Gazette the article on the top of the front page made the claim that a return to mining in the Western U.P. would "harm the local economy".
I would like to take a moment to respectfully disagree with this article in its entirety.
First of all the article claims there is a hidden cost to mining, however the article never spells this out specifically. The only way this could be true is if mining activity had a substantial negative effect on a currently viable economic activity, perhaps tourism.
I would agree that a return to mining practices of 100 years ago would probably have a negative effect, however it would take an extremely paranoid mind to imagine our regulatory climate allowing antrin other than a minimal impact on the environmental quality of the area.
On the other hand my observation is that poverty has had a very noticeable negative effect on the appeal of our area from the perspective of tourism. Blighted homes and vacant commercial buildings falling to total disrepair are a direct result of not having access to good paying jobs and commercial investment that would come with a mining operation. I cannot imagine how having the residents of our area living prosperous productive lives would reduce our appeal unless it bothers tourist to see people being prosperous,happy and productive.
The fact that this "news release" was submitted by FOLK would have most of us expecting a very predictable conclusion to any research they would advocate and report. This group and other like minded groups seems to be totally committed to attacking any attempt to make our region of the country self reliant and prosperous. They always ignore the human cost of having a lack of opportunity and the even higher human cost of a fully or partially dependant life style.
Ironically the same issue of the Gazette had an article on the upsurgence of substance abuse in the Upper Peninsula.
It cited the prevalence of poverty as one of the causes of this terrible problem.
We have to make a choice between being totally committed to an environmental cause or having a willingness to compromise in order to consider the human cost of poverty which is without argument the end result of uncompromised environmental policy.