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The push to mine in Panamint Valley is a hint that the Earth has too many people

The push to mine in Panamint Valley is a hint that the Earth has too many people
An Australian company has staked mining claims and requested permits to drill exploratory wells to determine if the brine beneath the Panamint Valley floor contains economically viable concentrations of lithium. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The controversy over mining lithium from the pristine Panamint Valley in eastern California is yet another reminder of the price that is demanded not only in service of climate change — the batteries that power zero-emission vehicles rely on the metal — but in providing transportation and communication needs to our rapidly growing, rapidly modernizing society.

One consideration is population growth. A recent United Nations report estimated a world population of nearly 10 billion people by 2050. A slight downturn may actually take place instead, but would it arrive too late to mitigate the damage done?

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It appears that our planet needs every caretaker it can find right now while we still have exceptional and unspoiled natural wonders like the Panamint Valley. Are we not capable of living on a planet optimized for a limited population’s quality of life and not limitless growth and wealth?

Jeffrey Eulberg, Reseda

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To the editor: Only four weeks ago, the L.A. Times published an op-ed article on the crying need to revise our current mining laws that date to 1872.

These laws allow for the extraction of billions of dollars’ worth of valuable minerals with no royalty payments to the government. Foreign and domestic companies have long availed themselves of this loophole.

Now an Australian corporation seeks to mine valuable U.S. resources immediately adjacent to Death Valley National Park. The history of these operations has demonstrated a lack of regard for air, water, wildlife or restoration of the scarred landscapes they leave behind.

We need to say no. Congress needs to finally say no.

Alan Kishbaugh, Los Angeles

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