‘Borrow pits’ are wounds that won’t heal

Published 10:24 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2017

To the editor:

The Isle of Wight Citizens’ Association opposes the expansion of open pit mining, or ”borrow pits,” in our county for the following reasons:

  • The minerals and arable soil removed from these pits are not “borrowed” as the term “borrow pit” deceptively implies, but carried off by the thousands of tons forever from our county, never returned and sold for personal profit.
  • Our county has been home to 10,000 years of native Woodland Indian culture and nearly 400 years of English settlement. The wholesale displacement and removal of large tracts of our county’s surface area may destroy thousands of years of valuable and unique archeological evidence of human history.
  • It will take centuries, if not millennia, for nature to heal these gigantic open wounds to our fair and beautiful landscape.
  • It is morally repugnant that this predatory process of mineral extraction permanently removes this non-renewable resource and prevents it forever from being used and enjoyed by all future generations.
  • This utter devastation of our delicate ecology removes the very soil that we, as the current stewards of our environment, are entrusted to protect as a legacy for future generations.
  • The removal and sale of the productive topsoil, created over millennia of natural geologic processes, prevents all future agricultural and farming use of the permanently devastated area.
  • The remaining huge, permanent, and sometimes water-filled, holes in our delicate landscape are not only a clear and present public danger to our children but present a permanent scar that is the most identifiable feature of our county land area when photographed from space.
  • This form of strip mining/open pit mining was banned years ago in the coal-mining western parts of our commonwealth because the environmental destruction was so complete and irreversible. It now behooves us here to do the same. This wholesale destruction of one of our county’s most precious resources, the very land on which we live and prosper, must cease now in order to prevent further depredation.

We believe that the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors, as a legally empowered “sovereign entity” expressing the will of the citizens of our county, should deny any expansion of open-pit mining and, further, enact an ordinance preventing the future construction and/or expansion of any such open pit or strip mines.

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Albert Burckard