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Cabinet Mountains Wilderness should not be industrialized

| January 9, 2007 11:00 PM

To the Editor:

It seems that most of my 26 years of residency in Sanders County have been spent debating the Rock Creek mine.

The Cabinet Mountains Wilderness is a small fraction of the acreage in the Kootenai National Forest and should never be compromised by the Rock Creek mine, or the Montanore project.

Endorsements and public support from the federal and state agencies does not give these mines legitimacy.

All these years of discourse on mining the wilderness have now intensified because of the Montanore mine. All of the mitigations created by the agencies to protect wildlife, water and the aesthetics of the area have become incidental because they do not properly address the fundamental issues, one of which is no mining the wilderness.

To the proponents the mitigations have become equally trite because many who support the mines would be thrilled to see the grizzly permanently exit this ecosystem and the wilderness industrialized. The mitigations have become a placebo for the agencies themselves, allowing them to believe that they did not sell out completely.

The Cabinet Mountains Wilderness should be preserved and kept free from industrialization. I have opposed the Rock Creek mine all these years because of its location and challenge the Montanore project on the same principles. Whether it is the Rock Creek or Montanore mine, they will still be operating within wilderness boundary, which is and always will be unacceptable.

Jim Costello

Rock Creek Alliance

Trout Creek