Well now we know why the mine was permitted to be reopened. Thanks for the follow up ping.
This just gets MORE Interesting:
Center for Biological Diversity: Endangered Earth - Online # 339 7/22/2003 1275
PROTEST CHALLENGES RADIOACTIVE MINE WITH LONG HISTORY OF SPILLS NEXT TO MOJAVE NATIONAL PRESERVE
The Center for Biological Diversity, local citizens, and seven other conservation organizations including Great Basin Mine Watch, National Parks Conservation Association, Sierra Club and California Communities Against Toxics, formally objected in June to the proposed expansion of a rare-earth metals mine adjacent to the Mojave National Preserve. Despite its track record of polluting the regions air, land, and water, Molycorp, Inc. (owned by parent company Unocal) wants to expand and operate its Mountain Pass Mine for another 30 years.
Before ceasing full operations in 1997, the Mountain Pass mine was ranked as one of Californias worst polluters, amassing a dangerous track record of spilling radioactive and toxic wastes.
Over 2,600 chemical, mining waste, and other spills were reported between 1982-1998. Molycorp has been subject to criminal investigation and charged with fines for its irresponsible and dangerous practices and the illegal storage of hazardous mining wastes at the mine site. In 1995 and 1996, Molycorp pipelines spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of radioactive and toxic wastes including uranium, thorium, and radiumon on BLM lands neighboring the Mojave National Preserve that are critical habitat to the desert tortoise.
Molycorps evaporation, tailings, and process ponds have contaminated regional groundwater supplies and air quality. Several children contracted a serious illness while attending the school neighboring the mine.
The California Department of Health found toxic contaminants such as strontium, arsenic, yttrium, and lanthanides were found in the carpet and the dust in the classrooms. Dust blowing from Molycorps mine, laden with rare-earth metals, has long been a top suspect as cause of illnesses in children at the Mountain Pass Elementary School and among area residents.