Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Use stimulus funds to clean up abandoned mines

The news of an illegal immigrant having to be rescued after falling into a 35-foot deep abandoned mine shaft near Douglas today, is a reminder of the hazard that faces all of us out in rural and remote areas.

While there are substantial federal monies available to clean up abandoned coal mines, it's almost impossible to get funding for hard rock mines, which are what we have in Arizona and many other Western states. [right, credit, Wickenburg.com]

It seems to me that there is a natural win-win situation here, given that filling in and boarding up these old mines requires construction workers, materials, and expertise, and the various stimulus bills being crafted in Congress are aimed at putting funds into infrastruction projects that can be started in 30-90 days. Many of Arizona's mines are known, and the construction efforts while sometimes tricky, are not rocket science.

Laurie Swartzbaugh, assistant to Joe Hart, the Arizona State Mine Inspector, sent me a copy of recent testimony from the Interstate Mining Compact Commission and the National Association of Mine Land Programs to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. They listed 80,000 abandoned openings in Arizona, second only to Nevada's 200,000.

Arizona identified 23 mine sites with 81 openings that could be readily closed in the next 24 months for a cost of $810,000. California, Montana, and Alaska have lists of ready for closure adding to tens of millions of dollars. I imagine the Arizona list could be expanded greatly with a bit more time to research and update the inventory.

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is reported saying that now is the time to take on important issues that have been sitting and waiting for funds or direction.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:20 PM

    Now that the anti-science, superstition-based initiative presidency ends, we need several public works science Manhattan projects to make us great again and boost us out of this Grotesque Depression. First we must provide free advertising-based wireless internet to everyone to end land line monopolies. Then we must criscross the land with high speed rail. Because bovine flatulence is the major source of greenhouse gases, we must develop home growable microbes to provide all of our protein. Then we must create microbes which turn our sewage and waste into fuel right at home. This will end energy monopoly by putting fuel in our hands. We must address that most illness starts from behavior, especially from parents. Since paranoid schizophrenia is the cause of racism, bigotry, homelessness, terrorism, ignorance, exploitation and criminality, we must provide put the appropriate medications, like lithium, in the water supply and require dangerous wingnuts who refuse free mental health care to be implanted with drug release devices. CHurches should be licensed to reduce supersition and all clergy dealing with small children should be psychiatrically monitored to prevent molesting. Osama bin Laden and Timothy McVeigh were the ultimate superstition based initiatives. Widen navigation straits (Gibraltar, Suez, Malacca, Danube, Panama and Hellspont) with deep nukes to prevent war. In order to fund this we must nationalize the entire financial, electrical and transportation system and extinguish the silly feudal notion that each industry should be regulated by its peers. Technology mandates a transformation of tax subsidies from feudal forecloseable debt to risk sharing equity. Real estate and insurance, the engines of feudalism, must be brought under the Federal Reserve so we may replace all buildings with hazardous materials to provide public works. Insects, flooding and fire spread asbestos, lead and mold which prematurely disables the disadvantaged. Disposable manufactured housing assures children are not prematurely disabled and disadvantaged. Because feudalism is the threat to progress everywhere, we must abolish large land holdings by farmers, foresters or religions and instead make all such large landholding part of the forest service so our trees may diminish greenhouse gases. We must abolish executive pay and make sure all employees in a company are all paid equally. We must abolish this exploitative idea of trade and monopoly and make every manufactured disposable cottage self sufficient through the microbes we invent.