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Bohemia health threats overstated.

Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By W. Don Reeder For The Register-Guard

We are an organization of independent miners who are concerned that The Register-Guard's recent series, "Mining's Toxic Legacy Toxic Legacy is a documentary by Susan Teskey and it was produced for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It was broadcast on the CBC and Discovery Times in September, 2006. ," misrepresents our activities, our interests and mining in general.

By focusing only on a few worst-case scenarios such as the Formosa Mine and neglecting the hundreds of abandoned mines that are nonissues, the series coaxes readers to generalize generalize /gen·er·al·ize/ (-iz)
1. to spread throughout the body, as when local disease becomes systemic.

2. to form a general principle; to reason inductively.
 that these worst-case scenarios are representative.

That is simply not true. The state has more than 250 mercury mines and more than 450 gold mines, most of which are abandoned. Many have been abandoned for decades, and even though they have not been subjected to reclamation efforts, require an experienced eye just to be located.

Some mines are simply incapable of producing significant pollution because of their geology. Since acidic mine waste is produced by the oxidation of sulfur-bearing ores, mines that involve other ore types don't produce acid.

For example, Oregon has more than 280 abandoned chromium mines. Since chromium ore is composed of oxide minerals, these mines have no acid runoff. Placer gold mines don't generate acid runoff because the gold already has been freed naturally from its sulfur-bearing ore.

Of the mines that tap sulfur-bearing ore (most of those 450 gold mines), the great majority of them are not significant sources of acid runoff.

Contrary to the June 29 article - the headline of which is a monument to hyperbole hyperbole (hīpûr`bəlē), a figure of speech in which exceptional exaggeration is deliberately used for emphasis rather than deception. : "Bohemia: A mountain of pollution" - the Champion Mine is located in a mountain of volcanic rock. That mountain is not Bohemia Mountain, and the mine is not a significant source of pollution.

But don't take our word for it. The engineering evaluation and cost analysis report commissioned by the U.S. Forest Service and indirectly referred to in the article contains a "streamlined human health and ecological risk assessment" in Appendix B. It states, "The only likely current and future receptors identified for the site are hikers, campers and hunters."

Page 13 summarizes the search for 54 "chemicals of interest." It says, "The quantitative risk assessment determined that no unacceptable noncancer health risks are anticipated" and "arsenic and cadmium cadmium (kăd`mēəm) [from cadmia, Lat. for calamine, with which cadmium is found associated], metallic chemical element; symbol Cd; at. no. 48; at. wt. 112.41; m.p. 321°C;; b.p. 765°C;; sp. gr. 8.  were the only (carcinogens Carcinogens
Substances in the environment that cause cancer, presumably by inducing mutations, with prolonged exposure.

Mentioned in: Colon Cancer, Rectal Cancer
) identified at the site. A quantitative risk assessment determined that concentrations of arsenic in surface water did not result in unacceptable excess cancer risk.

`Risks from ingestion ingestion /in·ges·tion/ (-chun) the taking of food, drugs, etc., into the body by mouth.

1. The act of taking food and drink into the body by the mouth.

 of soil and sediment and dermal dermal /der·mal/ (der´mal) pertaining to the dermis or to the skin.

der·mal or der·mic
Of or relating to the skin or dermis.
 contact with soil exceeded the Department of Environmental Quality's regulatory standard ... but was within the acceptable Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), independent agency of the U.S. government, with headquarters in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1970 to reduce and control air and water pollution, noise pollution, and radiation and to ensure the safe handling and  risk range. ... No hotspots were identified in soil or sediment."

Ecological risks pop up on Page 14: "(W)hile terrestrial plants and invertebrates within the site boundaries may be impacted, the populations and those of other wildlife receptors are unlikely to be significantly impacted within the vicinity of the site. ... In addition, the habitat lost due to any effects on plants is also unlikely to result in significant effects to upper trophic level trophic level
A group of organisms that occupy the same position in a food chain.

trophic level 
 species due to the large amount of relatively undisturbed habitat available surrounding the site.

"Aquatic receptors such as invertebrates and resident fish ... may be impacted within Champion Creek. Given the very small size of Champion Creek in the vicinity of the site, it is unlikely that populations of wildlife species will be significantly affected by contaminants of potential ecological concern in Champion Creek."

Since we have seen frog populations living in the rocks and water within a few feet of the mine portal, we can only agree.

But don't worry. The government sees fit to spend $1.4 million cleaning up a nonissue non·is·sue  
A matter of so little import that it ought not to become a focus of controversy and comment: She felt that the matter of her attire should have been a nonissue. 
 anyway. Perhaps these tax dollars would be better spent at the Formosa Mine, or on policing the drug labs that dump toxins in our forest or, if cancer is really the concern, donated to medical research.

Finally, the article's pontification against the 1872 Mining Law states, "(M)iners could buy the surface land over their claims for $5 an acre," but somehow neglects to mention that miners also had to pay up to $50,000 for application fees and surveys.

Our miners have no problem with reclamation or with reasonable bonding amounts. We have, however, had problems with environmentalists vandalizing our equipment and interfering with our activities. Inflammatory, skewed skewed

curve of a usually unimodal distribution with one tail drawn out more than the other and the median will lie above or below the mean.

skewed Epidemiology adjective Referring to an asymmetrical distribution of a population or of data
 articles, such as "Mining's Toxic Legacy," foment fo·ment  
tr.v. fo·ment·ed, fo·ment·ing, fo·ments
1. To promote the growth of; incite.

2. To treat (the skin, for example) by fomentation.
 additional criminal activity against us.

If we are going to follow The Register-Guard's methods, perhaps we should demonize de·mon·ize  
tr.v. de·mon·ized, de·mon·iz·ing, de·mon·iz·es
1. To turn into or as if into a demon.

2. To possess by or as if by a demon.

 all newspapers for pollution of the facts, since The Register-Guard seems to be the Formosa Mine of the state's newspapers.

W. Don Reeder of Eugene, a member of the Bohemia Mine Owners Association, prepared this column on behalf of Vince VanHouck, the association's president, and Lyn Perkins, corresponding secretary.
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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Date:Jul 14, 2006
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