Letter to the Editor: Seek alternatives to pozzolan mining on Bill Williams Mountain
Don't fall for it. The cement industry is the leading source of CO2 emissions. Were it a country it would rank third largest emitter in the world. Cement production also generates the most emissions per revenue dollar. It’s an industry that is needed, but slow to invest in meaningful alternatives to alleviate the problem. Drake Cement has 60 years supply of pozzolan between their Kirkland Mine and Frenchy Pit operations. Supplemental Cementous Materials (SCM) are a growing and vibrant area of investigation and investments in the world market cement industry. For example, Amazon and Microsoft have both invested in CarbonCure, its goal is to sequester 500 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually by 2030. Use of materials like recycled glass as a pozzolan substitute, fostering the use of recycled concrete for recarbonization (circular concrete economy), incorporation of recycled plastics, and even algae are among some alternative innovations being explored. Rather than explore and invest in alternatives, and with a decades long approved supply on hand, Drake deems it necessary to develop yet more open pit mines on Bill Williams Mountain. Their twisted logic of removing all the site vegetation to incinerate in their clean burning kilns to help the forest service with its thinning which, in turn, reduces Drakes CO2 footprint, thereby making their process “green” is absurd.
It’s important to remember the cement industry, Drake included, are manipulators. They are an industry plagued with mining and manufacturing processes that are environmentally dangerous. Public dissatisfaction among communities impacted by mining noise, loss of property values, loss of viewscapes and environmental consequences chalked up to unintended consequences, is catching up with them. To achieve “value” in their industry, it is much easier to manipulate the federal land management agencies into approving mining operations than investigate and invest in alternatives.
The General Mining Law of 1872 is key to their manipulations by enabling them to circumvent a comprehensive NEPA matrix. They utilize this unjust advantage to leverage agencies into approving mines and employ PR contractors to convince and appease you to believe they will cause no harm. They operate in a perception distorted by industry generated claims and facts of being “green”. Put simply, cleaning up the cement industry is critical to achieving our climate and health goals. Sustainable mining requires companies to better understand and appreciate the value of biodiversity both to their long-term operations and to local communities. Our opposition information is an affront to their canned industry facts and their attempts to appease you into accepting a pozzolan mine on Bill Williams Mountain….don’t fall for it.
~Margaret H. Mason