Livingston, Montana and the Mining Conundrum

January 6, 2009 By: Marshall Cutchin

In today’s Christian Science Monitor, Ben Arnoldy describes the tumbling cycle of raw-materials mining and its impact on small towns like Livingston, which despite successfully attracting artists, restaurateurs and upscale fly fishers, still suffers withdrawal when blue collar jobs go bust. The piece avoids reference to another long-standing problem in mineral-rich areas: communities willing to relax environmental rules in order to get new jobs, only to be stuck with the longer-term impact of mining waste on their local rivers. “The global economic crisis is part of the problem. The auto industry uses half the production of platinum and palladium, so Detroit’s woes are rippling out to Montana communities such as Livingston and Big Timber. But the real culprit is the US dollar, mining experts say, and therein lies reason for hope that mining here might yet revive.”