NIMBY: A poem

Behold, a rhyming poem about the benefits of mining from Mesabi Misadventures.

Summary: Don’t be a NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard), be a YIMBY (Yes! in My Back Yard) … or at least a MIMBY (Maybe in My Back Yard), if not a CIMBYBUC (Conditionally in My Back Yard, based upon circumstances).

Anyway, it’s a poem. I like poems.


  1. Ross Williams says

    Its interesting that the cry is “NIMBY!” when local residents demand protection of their environment from irresponsible development and meddling “OUTSIDERS!” when people from outside the region try to protect the local environment.

    I am sure you can find people who want to close down the local mining industry, but I have never met anyone who advocates that. In fact most people take the red hills of iron ore and pit lakes that the iron mines leave behind as part of our natural environment. It was those “NIMBY’s and OUTSIDERS!” who forced the mining companies to plant something on those hills instead of just leaving the bare rock.

    The current cry of “NIMBY and OUTSIDERS” has nothing to do with the existing mining industry. It is really an effort to prevent a discussion of how to best mitigate the environmental impacts of a copper-nickel mining. That industry has a long history of leaving behind, not picturesque hills and clean lakes, but a spreading sulphuric wasteland.

    Its not at all clear that US environmental regulations have been any more effective in preventing that than those in developing countries. Minnesota’s regulations have never actually been tested. The primary interest of the mining industry is in keeping the costs of those regulations as low as possible.

    If the costs of operations in Minnesota are too high, the companies will have to wait until metal prices reach a level to make mining profitable. The debate is not really whether these metals will be mined but when. Now, under relatively inexpensive and lax regulations, or later when prices will make it profitable under much stricter and more expensive regulations that fully protect the local environment

    Most of these companies have limited their liability by forming separate companies that go out of business once the local ore is gone. But if you require them to include the full costs of cleaning up after themselves in the price of their products, it may not be immediately profitable at current world prices.

    It seems to me we ought to all be WHIMBY’s (When and How in My Backyard). Because, if the ore is there, it will be mined someday. The only real questions are when, how and what legacy it will leave behind.

  2. I like WHIMBY. It’s solid conservationism. Utilize the resources, but do so responsibly.

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