The idea that economic and environmental prosperity are mutually exclusive is at the heart of frustrations we have over recent news that the EPA will reduce funds for the Coeur d’Alene River Basin mining cleanup plan, but it’s not our only grievance.
Frustrated that the basin bears the stigma of being designated a Superfund site, and worried about the effect this may have on jobs and the local economy, residents and congressional representatives have successfully campaigned for a plan that involves less money for cleanup and a shorter time frame – from 50 or more years at $1.3 billion, to 30 years at a cost of about $736 million.
Never mind the fact that a more thorough cleanup would create jobs for the area and significantly improve the environment. Consider this. The lesser cleanup plan unfortunately means the cleanup is almost certainly going to be insufficient and incomplete. This means that the EPA will eventually need to come back and figure out how to finish the job.
Representing two organizations with missions to preserve and protect this region’s natural resources and the health of citizens in both Kootenai and Spokane counties, we would like to see the job done right … the first time.