State should work with mine on water problem
It disturbs me to see the 16-to-1 Mine painted with the same brush as hydraulic mining operations that created environmental havoc and polluted our waterways with mercury. What bothers me about the tenor of the shaft water report is it states as fact information that is not true and manipulates numbers to make the mine look bad. I can only presume, that the intent is to close the mine down.
If the water board and 16-to-1 Mine could combine forces to find an inexpensive, passive system for filtering arsenic out of discharge water from all the mines along Kanaka Creek, they could set a pioneering example of government and industry working together to find a solution to a problem that would benefit everyone in the state. There is evidence to suggest that there is probably a threshold level of arsenic in water that has the beneficial affect of controlling the growth of harmful bacteria. The most significant health risks to people hiking in these remote areas are from fecal coliform.
The 16-to-1’s problem is not a lack of will, but a lack of financial resources. The resources they do have are a thorough knowledge of all the old mines along the creek, men and equipment located in this remote mountain area, and several unemployed miners, a few of whom could be gainfully employed setting up, monitoring, and maintaining the filtration systems.
I can see a great deal of benefit to the board and the citizens of the state of California by working with this small mining company in a constructive fashion. I can see no benefit from the staff’s recommendation to refer this issue to the Attorney General for criminal prosecution. There are no criminals here. There are just miners trying to survive in a very difficult regulatory environment at state and federal levels.
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