The tantalizing copper deposit at the foot of a butte near Florence has drawn interest from mining firms since the 1960s. But the cost of extracting the rich ore from deep underground always sent miners in this copper-rich state to more easily harvested deposits.
Rising copper prices have changed the equation, prompting Curis Resources to embark on a plan to extract the copper by injecting sulfuric acid into formations more than 400 feet underground, where it would strip the fractured rock of copper. The mix of acid and minerals would be pumped back to the surface for processing.
The process, called "in-situ" mining, meaning "in place," is a point of white-hot controversy in a battle between the mining company and Southwest Value Partners, a developer seeking approval for a nearby housing project.
The key question about Curis' proposal is whether pumps could recapture all of the acid pumped underground, where it could encounter groundwater, geologic fault lines, abandoned mining tunnels and nearby wells... Read more.
Amid the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, Mark Schleifstein writes for the Times-Picayune and reminds us that there are those still recovering from Isaac's predecessor:
A federal trial over what caused floodwalls to fail along the Industrial Canal during Hurricane Katrina began Wednesday with occasionally tearful testimony from Lower 9th Ward and Arabi homeowners whose houses were flooded when the walls collapsed. "My whole dream went up in smoke," said 71-year-old Alvin Livers, who owned a camelback home built on a slab at 4924 St. Claude Ave. in New Orleans. "I'd paid off my house and it was like a year before I retired. I was looking for the American dream that everybody was entitled to." "It looked like a bomb had gone off in the house," said Fred Holmes Jr., about his first visit to his flooded home at 1205 Perrin Drive in Arabi. "The mud was everywhere. Things that were on the ceiling were on the ground. Everything was destroyed."... Read more.
Rivers in America have stopped catching on fire. Big industrial polluters have been reined in. Overall, water quality has improved under the Clean Water Act.
But for all of its successes, the landmark environmental law was never designed to control contaminants that emerged after its 1972 passage. These pollutants are affecting the environment in new and different ways.
Consider the feminized fish of Puget Sound.
That’s something Lyndal Johnson has been doing a lot of lately. Johnson is a fisheries biologist and toxicologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She and a team of scientists were out sampling English sole –- a flatfish common to the sound’s Elliott Bay — when they noticed something, well, fishy... Read more.
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To the distress of supporters and former staff, People for Puget Sound, the nonprofit that just last year celebrated its 20th anniversary, has announced it is shutting down for good at the end of the month.
The nonprofit was a civic voice for Puget Sound and helped shepherd a high tide of change for the region's most signature body of saltwater.
Whether it was legislation to get a rescue tug permanently stationed near the state's outer coast to respond to oil spills; or petitioning for endangered-species protection for orcas; or regulations to restrain pollution and shoreline development or habitat restoration, People for Puget Sound was on the front lines... Read more.
A week ago, I flew from the wide open spaces of Grand Junction, Colorado, to New York, the city I now call home. Air traffic at LaGuardia airport had delayed my flight two hours and still the pilot had to circle several times before we received clearance to land. I was late, I was crabby, and I just wanted to be home. So you can imagine my frustration when I stepped out of the airport and into the muggy night to behold the scene on the left. Yes, folks, that’s the taxi line. It snaked down the sidewalk and then doubled back on itself. The queue was so long I couldn’t see the turnaround point. I snapped a photo and posted it to Facebook. “Welcome back to the big apple, Cassie! Here’s your taxi line,” I wrote. I was being sarcastic. Five [expletive] minutes in New York and already I was cursing and scowling... Read more.