Lode Warriors

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Howe, who has lived in Moab for just over a year, says she's been appalled by the attitude of longtime residents toward mining. "When we started the appeal, we got a lot of flak that we were putting 143 jobs on the line," she says. "People here have this romantic illusion about mining. There's so much mineral wealth in Utah, [the state] could easily be trashed. The people here don't seem to care."

While Howe would prefer there be no mining in the Lisbon Valley, she says she's willing to accept a copper mine with strong environmental safeguards in place. She believes the mining industry needs to recognize that the public's attitudes are changing. "It's a really selfish industry that's gotten its way for 125 years," she adds. "They need to become a responsible industry."

Despite his legal jousting with Howe and her attorney, Hahn also believes the mining industry needs to change. He says too many miners are out of touch with the West's changing population--for instance, Hahn points out that other mining companies might have fought the BLM in court for the right to mine in New Mexico, whether or not the local residents approved. "I think what the mining industry has to do is recognize a paradigm shift has occurred," says Hahn. "There is a new West out here, and we have to recognize that."

As for the Lisbon Valley, he says he still believes Summo and the project's opponents can strike a deal that will allow the company to break ground on its first mine. "We're going a long way to meet their needs," he says. "We're not out to do things on the quick and dirty. We're not out to create any environmental nightmares.

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Stuart Steers
Contact: Stuart Steers