Let me be the first (and hopefully last) to wish you a very smelter Christmas. In case you missed it, we have a modern day Scrooge setting up shop in Newport. We are threatened by a Canadian corporation called HiTest Sand and just like Scrooge, they are only here for profit. Unless we take prompt action, they will get their permit and build a polluting silicon smelting plant only a few miles from Sandpoint.
For the past few weeks, we have been experiencing our typical Christmas weather pattern. High pressure parks over us and we have periods of fog, low-level clouds and stagnant air conditions. So, imagine what our Christmas future will be once HiTest starts pumping TONs of their toxic air pollutants into our local breathing space. Medical authorities warn us that even short-term exposure can harm the human respiratory system and make breathing difficult. Sadly, children, the elderly, and those who suffer from asthma are particularly sensitive to these conditions. Doesn’t sound like a very Merry Christmas to me.
I commend Sandpoint Mayor Rongstad and the Kalispel Tribe Governing Council for their opposition to this smelting plant. Meanwhile, the Bonner County Commissioners have unfortunately adopted a “wait and see” approach while they “study the potential economic benefits”. The handful of low paying, high-risk jobs that this plant will bring are not worth the long-term damage to our local environment. Our county Commissioners need to hear from all of us on this issue. Contact them and express your concerns!
Captain, U.S. Navy (retired)