By Mark Olalde; March 18, 2019 –
Nearly 2 billion pounds of toxic waste were dumped into western waterways in 2017, and taxpayers are left to clean up the mess.
The remnants of an abandoned gold and silver mine scar the Little Rocky Mountains just south of the Fort Belknap Indian Community in Montana, bleeding polluted orange water into streams that meander through the reservation. Warren Morin remembers drinking the once-pristine water while he was growing up in the 1970s. Now it’s so acidic it makes his skin burn and turn red on contact.
Pegasus Gold Corp., a Canadian company that owned that mine and several others in the state, went bankrupt and folded 20 years ago. That left a legacy of water pollution and a cleanup bill nearing $100 million — with no end in sight.
“They took the heart of the mountains away from us,” said Morin, chair of the tribal council’s natural resources committee.
Pegasus isn’t an isolated case… (full story)