I want to commend Brad Tyer for authoring such a well-researched, unbiased, rational piece of work (see “The legacy of the poisoned Clark Fork,” Oct. 6, 2011). I just really appreciated how Tyer explained how sometimes, in the attempt to create something, in this particular case copper, which runs our cell phones and computers, etc., sacrifices must be made.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The sacrifice of an entire river drainage might be a little extreme, to say the least, and in the future we should definitely—and I’m sure that we will through improved technology and science—be more aware of the consequences. I would venture to bet that Marcus Daly had no idea what the consequences of his actions were going to be. There are those, myself included, who would say, “Bullshit, the greedy bastard couldn’t have cared less”—and that may be true, as we have seen the same attitude portrayed many times throughout history, but we don’t know that for sure.
My education and much of my working experience were in the field of forestry. I used to be a pretty avid “paint it, cut it, burn it and plant it” (or let it naturally regenerate) type of dude, but that attitude has mellowed considerably through time. I have seen a number of areas where trees never should have been taken off the hillside, or the logging prescription was wrong in one way or another. I have witnessed the long-term aftereffects of such actions. I know that many of these actions were the result of pressure put on the managing agency by greedy lobbying interests to “get the cut out.” But I am also pretty sure that a lot of those same actions were the result of sheer ignorance. Man does not know for sure what is going to happen 120 years from now!
Anyway, thank you for pretty much making that point, whether you intended to or not. Many of the Independent’s readers, I’m sure, have never bothered to consider that. Good job!