Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Montana, like other states, has a few nicknames. Some official, some not so official. Our official nickname is The Treasure State. The nickname most people think of is Big Sky Country, or Land of the Big Sky.

Other nicknames bantered around are,

Land of the Big Sky, Unabomber and Very Little Else
Montana: Where Men are Men and Sheep are Scared
The Last Best Place

Why am I bringing all this up? Because today in the NYT, I ran across this article about the demolition of the Miltown Dam. In short, during the mining heyday of the state, millions of tons of waste were dumped into the river and air to create what would eventually become the nation's largest Superfund Cleanup Site. The Anaconda Copper Company being the largest . . . um . . . donor.

In taking out the dam, workers will have to remove something like 1.5 MILLION cubic yards of contaminated silt.

This may be the Last Best Place, just don't drink the water.

For another take on all of this, you can go over to The Black Table. Written almost four years ago, it's still relevant. And here's what he has to say about the Superfund Cleanup:

We've also got the country's largest Superfund site, and it's so big that to call it a "site" doesn't do it justice. It's more of a Superfund superhighway, encompassing 120 miles of the Clark Fork River from the 19th Century mining boomtown of Butte to Milltown Dam in Missoula . . .

The [Berkeley Pit in Butte] is perhaps best known for a 1995 incident in which a flock of some 350 snow geese landed on the surface of the highly acidic pond and promptly died.

Why am I bringing all this up? Maybe it's because I preached a sermon yesterday about planning for the future and reading this struck a cord within me about how our society in particular and humanity in general have done a poor job at looking towards anything further out than our next meal. Maybe it's because I shouldn't be surprised at the creative way humanity rapes our planet. Maybe it's because, by publishing our mess, I can do my part to keep people from invading this place.

Or maybe it's because it's 7:15 in the morning and I just started rambling.

Capitalism is good . . . But isn't there a way to make a profit responsibly?


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