Being anti-mining or pro-mining misses the point. We need regulations with teeth.

(Alastair Lee Bitsóí | The Salt Lake Tribune) Anti-uranium activists march, pray and sing as part of the annual spiritual walk in protest of the White Mesa Mill on Oct. 9, 2021.

In regard to the recent Tribune article on uranium mining.

We live in a technologically enabled society. We like our automobiles, appliances, phones … and the creation of these products begins with resource extraction. A real cost of that resource extraction is often not paid by us consumers but by the communities and taxpayers who are left holding the bag from waste byproducts during and after the extraction.

I agree with Davina Smith for her stance with regard to SB75: Mineral Amendments. She has witnessed and lived through what uranium mining has done to her community in southeastern Utah.

The cases of pollution from coal ash and water contamination in Appalachia to aquifer contamination due to hydraulic fracturing for oil extraction are legion. Being anti-mining or pro-mining misses the point.

The issue is the lack of adequate environmental oversight and regulations with teeth. But it will drive up the costs. How much is the taxpayer now on the hook for in the cleanup of SuperFund sites?

It is up to us the citizens to agree that the real costs should be absorbed by us who purchase and use our devices. To do otherwise passes the costs downriver geographically or down the river of time to our descendants.

According to The Tribune article, President of the Utah Mining Association Brian Somers said “that protection is already in place, noting that mining is subject to layers of federal and state oversight.” If regulation and oversight had been up to the task then situations like Davina Smith’s testimonial and the groundwater contamination beneath the White Mesa uranium mill would not exist.

Close to home in the Salt Lake Valley we live over an aquifer that has been contaminated by heavy metals from acid mine leaching in the 1960s at the Kennecott mine.

Somebody pays the price. The question is whether we defer that cost to others downstream or down time.

Lewis Downey, Salt Lake City

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