Opportunity, Montana

Opportunity, Montana

Big Copper, Bad Water, and the Burial of An American Landscape

Book - 2012
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A memoir-meets-exposé that examines our fraught relationship with the West and our attempts to clean up a toxic environmental legacy
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In 2002, Texas journalist Brad Tyer strapped a canoe on his truck and moved to Montana, a state that has long exerted a mythic pull on America's imagination as an unspoiled landscape. The son of an engineer who reclaimed wastewater, Tyer was looking for a pristine river to call his own. What he found instead was a century's worth of industrial poison clotting the Clark Fork River, a decades-long engineering project to clean it up, and a forgotten town named Opportunity.
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At the turn of the nineteenth century, Montana exploited the richest copper deposits in the world, fueling the electric growth of twentieth-century America and building some of the nation's most outlandish fortunes. The toxic by-product of those fortunes--what didn't spill into the river--was dumped in Opportunity.
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In the twenty-first century, Montana's draw is no longer metal but landscape: the blue-ribbon trout streams and unspoiled wilderness of the nation's "last best place." To match reality to the myth, affluent exurbanites and well-meaning environmentalists are trying to restore the Clark Fork River to its "natural state." In the process, millions of tons of toxic soils are being removed and dumped--once again--in Opportunity. As Tyer investigates Opportunity's history, he wrestles with questions of environmental justice and the ethics of burdening one community with an entire region's waste.
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Stalled at the intersection of a fading extractive economy and a fledgling restoration boom, Opportunity's story is a secret history of the American Dream and a key to understanding the country's--and increasingly the globe's--demand for modern convenience.
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As Tyer explores the degradations of the landscape, he also probes the parallel emotional geography of familial estrangement. Part personal history and part reportorial narrative,nbsp; Opportunity, Montananbsp; is a story of progress and its price: of copper and water, of father and son, and of our attempts to redeem the mistakes of the past.

Publisher: Boston, Massachusetts : Beacon Press, [2012]
ISBN: 9780807003299
0807003298
Branch Call Number: 304.28 TYER
Characteristics: xv, 232 pages ; 24 cm

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