Lithium Nevada and supporters of the proposed Thacker Pass lithium mine project love to claim that the mine will bring jobs to the area. This may be true. But, even if it is true, the mine will also bring more air, water, and soil pollution. The mine will also lead to escalated crime against women, especially indigenous women.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement prepared by the Bureau of Land Management notes that soil and water will be contaminated with sulfates, arsenic, antimony, and uranium, for example. Long term exposure to antimony can result in chronic bronchitis and chronic emphysema. And, this is in an area where wild fire smoke is already wrecking local air quality. Long term exposure to arsenic can lead to skin lesions and skin cancer. Long term exposure to uranium can lead to kidney damage and liver and bone cancer. And, this is in an area where Fort McDermitt tribal members have already been killed by cancer from working at the McDermitt and Cordero Mercury mines.

This kind of pollution affects children, the elderly, and the sick at much higher levels than it affects others. So, the question is: Are you willing to give kids cancer, are you willing to kill the elderly and the sick for a job?

Another thing to consider, here, is the amount of crime, violence, and drug use that accompany new mines. The connection between higher rates of domestic and sexual violence – especially against indigenous women – and the presence of man camps is well-established. So, another question is: Are you willing to be raped for a job? Are you willing to see your daughter, sister, or cousin raped for a job? Are you willing to risk a child in your community sex-trafficked for a job?

One more thing to consider is whether people will actually seek employment at the mine or whether people are even capable of seeking employment at the mine. The mine will require drug tests. I’m sure that includes marijuana. Meanwhile, Fort McDermitt tribal members have pointed out that there are already plenty of jobs in the area, but no one wants to work them. There is a marijuana farm at Fort McDermitt, for example, and one of the reasons the Tribe allowed that farm to come to the reservation was the promise of jobs for tribal members. But, that farm has already had to establish a camp for workers outside of the reservation because not enough tribal members have sought employment at the farm.

The truth is, folks, destructive industries like mining ALWAYS use the jobs arguments to justify destroying the land and polluting vulnerable communities. But, it is precisely because the land is destroyed and communities are polluted that people need jobs. As more land is destroyed, and it becomes more and more difficult for people to support themselves on the land, the easier it is for mines to make people dependent on them. And, at the end of the day, we know many ancestors of Fort McDermitt tribal members were massacred by the federal government – the very same federal government permitting the Thacker Pass mine. These people were massacred BECAUSE THEY STOOD IN THE WAY OF DESTRUCTIVE INDUSTRIES LIKE MINING.

Don’t expose children to cancer for a job. Don’t kill grandmothers for a job. Don’t risk the rape of someone you know for a job. Protect Thacker Pass.

#ProtectPeeheeMuhuh #ProtectThackerPass #NoMoreStolenSisters #MMIW

Art by Sara-Marie Stiksrud.