April 22 is Earth Day and the state of Utah is celebrating…fossil fuels and the wonders of mining. The Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining is having a poster contest with the theme “Where would WE be without oil, gas and mining?” The goal is to “highlight how modern mining and petroleum extraction techniques and reclamation methods minimize environmental impacts while providing society with the raw materials required to have our high standard of living.”
As ThinkProgress notes, they had an almost identical theme last year for Earth Day and the whole thing was sponsored by Arch Coal, Anadarko Petroleum, and Rio Tinto/Kennecott Utah Copper. Rio Tinto is one of the world’s largest and richest mining companies and they’ve been responsible for extraordinary amounts of pollution all over the country.
One of their mines in Wisconsin, the Flambeau mine, they declared to be all “reclaimed” after operations were ended there but the Wisconsin DNR said last year that a stream flowing from the area of the mine is still highly contaminated with heavy metals. environmental groups have also documented both air and water pollution at highly toxic level around their mines in other states, including Utah.
Next year for Black History Month, maybe they’ll have a poster contest sponsored by the KKK.