Lecain seems to be arguing for awareness more than anything. He wants people to be aware of a couple of issues regarding technological fixes in regard to mining. We need to be aware of the transformational, relocational, and delaying techno-fixes and be aware that their solutions are either temporary or can have impacts in other areas and locations. In Ducktown the solution of converting the sulfur dioxide into sulfuric acid was seen an example of a transformational and relocational fix. They changed the sulfur dioxide and sent off the new by product to a fertilizer company. However, Lecain states that there was an unintended consequence and that was “The majority of the fertilizer thus eventually ran off into local creeks and rivers, and in many regions often ended up concentrating in the water of nearby ponds and lakes.” (Lecain 142) This is what Lecain wants us to be aware of. These solutions often fixed the problem in the area but ended up affecting other regions through the country. The same exact situation happened with the second case study. The arsenic by product was repackaged as an insecticide and sprayed all over the cotton fields of the south. So the arsenic didn’t affect the Deer Lodge valley anymore but was now all over the south.
This is a tough question to tackle. It has been proven time again that mining has extremely dangerous environmental consequences. But I think that these minerals are essential to an extent. They have many uses and we utilize these minerals in many facets of our daily lives. And its’s unrealistic to think that people would stop mining as long as there is profit to be made. I think it’s important that we hold these mining companies accountable and continue to investigate solutions and not give up on our efforts to protect the environment. Lecain’s argument should not be forgotten or ignored. We need to continue to be aware of our past follies. Eventually there won’t be a place for these pollutants to be moved to so the onus is on us to find more permanent solutions for taking care of these dangerous by products of mining.