Build the smelter in Canada, not in our backyard

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I have lived in Sandpoint for almost 20 years. I grew up and moved here from a small town north of Tucson, Ariz. I breathed the smelter smoke from San Manuel’s Magma Copper Co. for many years. The plants and animals for 100 miles surrounding the plant were distressed and dying. They would slow the output during the day and crank it up to full capacity at night. It was insane, they tore the stacks down a few years ago, but the devastation is still evident and it will be decades before the region cleans up and any sort of normality returns to the fragile ecosystem.

The thought of a smelter, with what will be four stacks 20 miles upwind from this natural paradise, is a catastrophe in the making. The thought of Washington state allowing this Canadian monster on our western border is criminal. I have had highly educated doctors warn me of microscopic glass particles released in the silicon smelting process that will be embedded in lung tissue and they will not be eliminated by the usual mucus cleansing by which most contaminants are expelled. I can only wonder about the enduring damage to our forests, wildlife, fisheries, and water quality.

I moved up here to get away from this kind of insanity. I heartily oppose the rezoning in Pend Oreille County that would allow this facility. A few jobs for the immediate area is not worth the long term damage to the environment in both our counties for the sake of billions to be made for this foreign company. Half of Western Canada is totally unpopulated … build it there not in our backyard.

R. BRUCE JOHNSON

Sandpoint

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