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Utah Doctors Take On Giant Mining Operation

Posted on Jan 22, 2012
arbyreed (CC-BY)

An open pit copper mine operated by Rio Tinto/Kennecott in Utah.

A group of doctors and environmentalists in Salt Lake City have joined the Occupy movement to sue the third-largest mining corporation in the world for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act with practices that contribute to thousands of pollution-related deaths in Utah each year. The company, Rio Tinto/Kennecott, pulled in a record $15 billion in profits last year. —ARK


... Medical research in the last ten years has firmly established that air pollution causes the same broad array of diseases well known to result from first- and secondhand cigarette smoke—strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, virtually every kind of lung disease, neurologic diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, loss of intelligence, chromosomal damage, higher rates of diabetes, obesity, adverse birth outcomes, and various cancers such as lung cancer, breast cancer and leukemia.

Most of Utah’s cities are in violation of many of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) national air quality standards, and for several days during a typical winter, Utah is plagued by the worst air pollution in the country. The American Lung Association routinely gives Utah’s largest cities an “F” for our air quality. Last February, Forbes Magazine, hardly a cheerleader for excessive environmental protection, rated Salt Lake City as the ninth most toxic city in the country, and the biggest contributor to that ranking was the mining and smelting operations at the Bingham Canyon mine, run by London-based mining conglomerate Rio Tinto/Kennecott (RTK).

This is the world’s largest open-pit mine and has created the largest mining-related water pollution problem in the world. The mine is located on the western doorstep of Salt Lake City, home to 1.8 million people. There is no comparable juxtaposition of an enormous mining operation this close to such a large urban center. RTK’s mine and smelter operations account for 30 percent of the particulate matter emitted into the atmosphere over Salt Lake County, making it by far the largest source of industrial pollution in the urban areas of Utah.

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By Dennis in MI, January 25, 2012 at 10:20 am Link to this comment
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This corporate person is being sued in the World court for genocide in malaysia. The government took the peasants land, gave it to a foreign multinational corporate person, and then the govt and the corp killed hundreds of peasants. This corporate person needs swift application of the death penalty. Not holding my breath.

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By barbosa, January 23, 2012 at 1:16 am Link to this comment
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According to EPA resent research Salt Lake City is a third largest mining corporation in the world and ninth most toxic city in the world. If we don’t take necessary step to reduce levels of air pollution and other pollutants than we will see various harmful effect in future such as sun burn,  lung disease, heart disease, asthma etc. For preventing air pollution we require plantation. Support plantation society such as PALS a ‘Pure Air Lovers Society’ working for air cleans. PALS has a innovative Ideas to prevent air pollution.

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By gerard, January 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

There ought to be a law for mining companies and other environmental exploiters the same as for doctors:  “Do No Harm”! Sue the cruelty, the carelessness and the deadly exploitation and find out where the courts stand at present. That’ll tell us a lot. Congratulations to OWS and the doctors!
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