SMELTER: Doesn’t belong here

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Hello N. Idaho Representatives and Mayors (with a CC to Mike Patrick at the Coeur d’Alene Press),

I read today’s Coeur d’Alene Press article citing Sen. Steve Vick regarding daylight savings time and “the close economic ties between eastern Washington and North Idaho.” Clearly, our two areas are entwined — for better and worse. Usually, this interconnectivity is for the better, but the development of the Newport smelter plant is not.

As a Rathdrum resident and one of your neighbors/voters/taxpayers, I beseech you to exercise your political muscle to stop the progress of this toxic producer that will diminish the health, welfare and quality of life for all of us — including current and future taxpayers/voters, in addition to your children and grandchildren.

Surely, you’re mindful of Sandpoint’s recent designation as a top retirement destination. Don’t we all take weekend excursions there as well as to Priest Lake, Schweitzer, etc., to relish the fresh, clean air and water? If this smelting plant becomes operational, not only will those areas be overwrought by toxins, but there will be adverse impacts downwind and downstream to where all of us live. Dirty air and dirty water are what we live here to avoid, not to cultivate.

Know that I am a fiscal and social conservative and am usually a proponent of business development to enhance a region’s economy. However, economic growth that will be dwarfed by health and quality-of-life diminishment is never worthwhile.

Your constituents need you to keep us from the harm this smelting plant will bring.

According to Steve Vick, “In many ways, we are one community,” and I couldn’t agree more. Let’s take care of each other and this region that we call home.

MARIANNA COCHRAN

Rathdrum

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