Briggs Mine (Calif.)

Briggs Mine (Calif.)

RANDSBURG, Calif. – Heaps of toxic mine waste rise like church steeples over this wind-swept desert town, threatening the health of residents and of thousands of off-road bikers.

Tests on dust samples have revealed some of the highest arsenic levels in the country — as much as 460,000 times the level deemed safe by the federal government.

But while the poison can cause cancer in people and harm wildlife, little has been done to remove the costly waste here or similar hazardous waste at thousands of other abandoned mines around the nation.

The dozens of old gold and silver mines in the sparsely populated area about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles are among the estimated 500,000 abandoned mines nationwide that have been largely ignored because of their remote locations.

Where has the California EPA and Feds been over the last several decades re these out of sight, out of mind arsenic deposits? What are Alaska’s capabilities of strictly overseeing and monitoring the Pebble Mine project?