Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fish, birds, us and coal

Posted on Thu, Nov 28, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Here in Montana, mercury pollution threatens our health and our environment by entering our waterways and poisoning the fish that appear on our dinner plates. Birds that eat these fish, notably the ospreys that reside on our Clark Fork, are displaying off the chart mercury levels. However, this pollution is harming more than our fish and birds, it is harming us. A statewide health advisory has been implemented to limit our consumption of fish because of mercury pollution.

Mercury, a highly dangerous neurotoxin, is a serious health concern for both humans and wildlife. Even extremely small doses can be linked to many neurological disorders, cardiac disease and can alter the development of small children and infants.

Here in Montana, coal plants are responsible for over 90 percent of mercury pollution. With large ongoing coal operations such as Colstrip and Corette, and the proposal of our nation’s largest new coal strip mine in the Tongue River Valley, this issue can no longer be ignored. Corporate coal must be held responsible for the destruction of both our health and our environment. I urge Gov. Steve Bullock and his administration to consider these adverse effects when considering whether to allow new coal mining here in Montana.

Charley Frazier

Missoula

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