I would like to clarify a few issues in the June 29 online story, “St. Helens drilling OK in federal review.” The Gifford Pinchot Task Force is a nonprofit organization working on issues related to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest since 1985. We worked to save Goat Mountain from mining when thousands of Washingtonians expressed their displeasure at the idea of an open-pit mine adjacent to the iconic Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. This sounds to me like a mandate of the people to protect this area — not a suggestion to be ignored.
An open-pit mine that uses cyanide leaching to extract minerals and leaks toxic waste into rivers that feed our water supplies, within view of a major tourist attraction, does not seem like a good idea to most rational people. Ascot claimed that the mine would provide 2,000 direct jobs and 4,000 indirect jobs. They later backed off and said maybe 200 jobs. Who’s being disingenuous here? At this point the drilling project will only provide 18 jobs for five months, with one-third of those jobs being promised to Canadian workers.
Providing few nonsustainable jobs at the cost of environmental contamination is not the right solution for Washington’s rural economic issues. We can do better than that.