The Australian newspaper reports that:
“Queensland health has refused to conduct extensive soil and water testing in Mount Isa despite its own study confirming 11 percent of children in the town have dangerously high levels of lead in their blood…
...Instead, the Queensland Health report recommended that a “living with lead” alliance – made up of government, council, and mine representatives – develop more “mitigation strategies”...
Lead poisoning causes brain damage in children, resulting in behavioral and learning problems. Traditionally, it is prevented by not poisoning the kids in the first place, but actually asking Xstrata to meet the same environmental standards as the rest of us must be economically disadvantageous, so they want to mitigate instead. I wonder, how do you mitigate against brain damage?
- Remedial math lessons for kids (remedial ethics for mine execs is optional).
- Heavy metal scavenger hunt (according to the report, they “could not find a source of the contamination”).
- Brain damage? Well duh! They’re from Queensland!
- Give the kids careers as labor ministers, or Queensland Health professionals.
Needless to say, if big companies can have “partnerships” instead of compliance, they have an advantage over those of us who actually have to obey laws. But the real pisser is when well meaning but ignorant activists assume that the answer is more regulation. Because then we end up with one more layer of rules that we have to follow while the bad guys can simply ignore, vet, or mitigate.