Memo to uranium opponents:
'Mine' your own business

Sounding Board Editorial #12 (April 20, 2008)

Dennis Foster

     There has been a surge in companies filing documents to do exploratory drilling on the Colorado Plateau in search of uranium deposits.  Some of these sites are a bit south of the Grand Canyon, and this has opened up a barrage of opposition.  I had been planning on showing the film Mine Your Own Business to my students for some time now, and had arranged to use the campus library auditorium for this purpose.  So, my commentary on this subject allowed me to also advertise this film.  Mostly, the auditorium was filled with my students, who were favorably disposed to the idea that environmentalists go too far, although there were others in the audience from the public, including some folks from one of the mining companies.  This comment ran on April 20.

What good is mining?  To those who care to notice, it is a more significant contributor to our standard of living than is our ability to hunt and gather.  Without mining, you can’t ride around in subsidized buses, you can’t heat your affordable home, you can't operate your solar oven, and you can’t enjoy your favorite microbrew.

Should uranium mining be banned in northern Arizona?  Some argue it should, because it was poorly done in the past and that it poses some risk.  But, then, why not ban all production?  There is no such thing as a world without risks.  Let’s assess these risks, and assess the benefits.  Then, let’s have an open, and honest, discussion about uranium mining.  Maybe it shouldn’t be allowed, but maybe it should.

Indeed, if you believe all the mumbo jumbo about human caused global warming dooming our planet to a fiery grave, you should be an unabashed supporter of uranium mining – the benefits of saving the human race must certainly outweigh mining’s risk factors.  Stop being bitter, clutching at your solar panels and your copy of “The Population Bomb.”  Grab a shovel and help move us into a truly nuclear age. 

The clash between environmentalists and people struggling for a decent living in mining is going on all around the globe.  If that clash interests you, come see a special screening of the documentary, “Mine Your Own Business” at NAU’s Cline Library Auditorium on Wednesday, April 23 at 7 p.m.  Free and open to the public.

Dennis Foster has a Ph.D. in economics, teaches at the university level, and is an avid Grand Canyon hiker.

     Once again I was able to include an Obama-ism in my editorial - the snippet about "bitter, clutching" comes from his faux pas in San Francisco about middle America.  Also, the reference to the solar oven is courtesy of Lisa Rayner, local activist, who was profiled on the front page of the paper that week, next to her solar oven.

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