Event Title

Unspoken: A Tale of Green-washed Democracy

Presenter Information

Steven Davidson, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Michael Lipscomb

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Political Science

Location

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 221

Start Date

22-4-2016 2:00 PM

End Date

22-4-2016 2:15 PM

Description

Romarco Minerals is ramping up to begin gold mining in Lancaster County, South Carolina. Mining operations raise significant environemental concerns, especially related to water safety. However, with the price of gold over $1,200 per ounce, mining is also strongly linked to industrial prosperity. This paper will address the history of Haile Gold Mine, the recent approval to re-open the mine, the environmental and economic impacts mining operations could produce for the surrounding region, and the dominant political discourses that are relevant to this case. While Romarco Minerals promises immediate benefits to the region in the way of jobs and tax dollars, lasting effects of mining operations, including scars on the landscape, air-qualilty disturbances, and contamination of groundwater and watersheds, could leave residents worse off in the long term. Mining operations use cyanide in a method called heap leaching, which leaves behind gallons of toxic byproduct. One look at nearby Brewer Mine gives testament to the harm they pose to the environment: Brewer is currently on the U.S. Superfund list. I will first speak on the prevailing discourse that is practiced nearly world-wide: Industrialism. I will show, through examples of a seemingly green-washed application of the relevant environmental discourses, that Industrialism, through exhibition of what Charles Lindblom called the automatic punishment recoil mechanism, exerted an overwhelming influence on the decision to approve the permits for Romarco’s mining operations. I will then turn my attention to the economic realities of Lancaster County, which demonstrate why the power of Industrialism left little room for ecological debate. I will give examples that show the tendency of the impoverished to make unwise decisions regarding the protection of their environment in the face of economic relief, and then I will make a plea for attentiveness in order that Ecological Justice succeed where other discourses failed.

Course Assignment

Environmental Politics, PLSC 325, Michael Lipscomb

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Apr 22nd, 2:00 PM Apr 22nd, 2:15 PM

Unspoken: A Tale of Green-washed Democracy

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 221

Romarco Minerals is ramping up to begin gold mining in Lancaster County, South Carolina. Mining operations raise significant environemental concerns, especially related to water safety. However, with the price of gold over $1,200 per ounce, mining is also strongly linked to industrial prosperity. This paper will address the history of Haile Gold Mine, the recent approval to re-open the mine, the environmental and economic impacts mining operations could produce for the surrounding region, and the dominant political discourses that are relevant to this case. While Romarco Minerals promises immediate benefits to the region in the way of jobs and tax dollars, lasting effects of mining operations, including scars on the landscape, air-qualilty disturbances, and contamination of groundwater and watersheds, could leave residents worse off in the long term. Mining operations use cyanide in a method called heap leaching, which leaves behind gallons of toxic byproduct. One look at nearby Brewer Mine gives testament to the harm they pose to the environment: Brewer is currently on the U.S. Superfund list. I will first speak on the prevailing discourse that is practiced nearly world-wide: Industrialism. I will show, through examples of a seemingly green-washed application of the relevant environmental discourses, that Industrialism, through exhibition of what Charles Lindblom called the automatic punishment recoil mechanism, exerted an overwhelming influence on the decision to approve the permits for Romarco’s mining operations. I will then turn my attention to the economic realities of Lancaster County, which demonstrate why the power of Industrialism left little room for ecological debate. I will give examples that show the tendency of the impoverished to make unwise decisions regarding the protection of their environment in the face of economic relief, and then I will make a plea for attentiveness in order that Ecological Justice succeed where other discourses failed.