Archive for November 20th, 2008

by jhwygirl

Found in a comment buried in spam since this past Saturday, Pronghorn asks the question of whether crushed glass could be the answer to eliminating our need for gravel from open pit mines.

Not a bad question – and at the very least, isn’t it worth doing some cost analysis? While I realize that there will always be a need for gravel, how many new gravel pits could be eliminated by using crushed glass as a component of roads and roadbed construction?

Again – consider the closed industrial Stimson Mill, with the railroad that runs through it? Located right off of I-90? Isn’t railway transportation supposedly cheapest?

DEQ has its traveling crusher – and they’ve got this webpage with glass crushing information and other links, like one titled Market Development Work.

Imagine if that industrial wasteland and DEQ cleanup site could be turned into a regional recycling center, capitalizing on its location and optimum access to railway infrastructure?

Hell – I bet there’s even grants for stuff like that. Montana could probably use a regional recycling facility and processing plant. I mean, consider that Butte recently got a $10 million dollar (or some huge amount) silicone recycling plant, supported with some state economic grant, along with tax incentives.

Thanks Pronghorn.

by jhwygirl

That’s the question on Colstrip rancher Charles Kulver’s mind.

Mine too.

Charles has always been a bit wary of the multiple companies that are strip mining around Colstrip – and recently he came across an unauthorized dump on his property – part of what is apparently a ‘reclamation project’ of Western Energy.

When Kulver reported the 500 foot long, 20 foot wide, 12 foot deep mass of scrap wood, metal, plastics and reddish-brown soil – which also included a boiler and a barrel, from what could be seen, he was told by DEQ that, yes, the state does permit dumping of ‘inert’ ingredients into reclamations.

Lovely, right?

Unregulated, uninspected dumps of stuff.

Wasn’t it just the other day that I was pondering the cleanup sites that have yet to be found, and here we come, not even two weeks later with reports that reclamation sites go about, unregulated and uninspected, using ‘inert’ stuff as fill.

Let me make this clear – and a recent audit of DEQ exposes the inefficiencies – that not only is a lack of enforcement the problem, but the lack of staffing to do the enforcing.

So as this legislature begins to contemplate the next legislative session, perhaps a few of our elected officials – new or old – might consider that Montana’s citizen’s safety and Montana’s water quality and Montana’s citizen’s health depends upon having enough staffing to adequately inspect and oversee the permits which it issues for things like mines and reclamation projects?

Pretty please?

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