No to the Smelter…

Dear Editor,

After much consideration, I have finally decided it is time to let my voice be heard. My husband and I moved to Blanchard Idaho to retire in 2014. We found a perfect community in Blanchard, met some wonderful people and enjoy all four seasons in this beautiful landscape.

In the summer, we enjoy hiking some of the wilderness areas with a group of fellow hikers in our neighborhood, or bicycling the streets of Sandpoint or Coeur d’ Alene. Winter you may find us snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing or when there is no snow, sometimes just walking and taking in the vistas.

In October 2017, all our dreams of a future in this beautiful area, surrounded by forests and lakes and so many outdoor activities came crashing down. The cause? The potential of HiTest Sands (a Canadian corporation) coming to Newport, Washington to build their silicon smelting operation.

This kind of industry has no place in a rural residential setting. The proximity to homes, schools and the entire community of Newport, Wash., should give pause to this type of industry. Smelters are dirty business in general, and a silicon smelter would produce all sorts of pollutants that we do not want.: everything from nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter and more. Many of these are linked to diseases of the lung, cancer, and environmental problems like acid rain and haze

Add to all of this our natural inversion layer, which already causes days of unhealthy air, and you have a recipe for disaster. Last summer’s fires and smoke in this region proved just how bad it can be. After two weeks of an inversion layer holding the smoke over an area stretching from Coeur d’ Alene to Sandpoint (and possibly beyond) my husband and I both had difficulty breathing even days after the inversion layer lifted and the smoke cleared.

Please, contact your state and local representative, do some research, and join the fight to keep HiTest Sands from building this monstrosity in our beautiful scenic area.

Cora McConnell

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