Today in OpinionJournal.com, John Fund looks at the environmentalist-led campaign against a proposed mine in Rosia Montana, Romania, documented in the film Mine Your Own Business — whose Washington, D.C. premiere CEI co-sponsored. All-purpose left-wing moneybags George Soros and professional umbrage artist Vanessa Redgrave — who Fund points out “hasn’t visited Rosia Montana” — are pushing hard to shut the mine project down, never mind what the town’s residents may actually want.
Opponents of the mine claim that Rosia Montana residents agree with their stance. “Local opposition to the mine is strong and organized” says a statement signed by 80 environmental groups in January. In his letter, Mr. Soros cites a recent poll organized by some members of Romania’s parliament that “found 90% of respondents rejecting the project.” But the poll turns out to be an unscientific Internet survey, and one of the environmental groups Mr. Soros funds urged people outside Romania to participate in it. What is clear: Two-thirds of Rosia Montana’s people have accepted Gabriel’s voluntary offer to buy their homes at above market rates. Most will move four miles away to a less polluted area.
On the other side, Rosia Montana Mayor Virgil Narita supports the mine because it will create 700 permanent local jobs. He was re-elected with 80% of the vote this year. And in late 2004, the Council of Europe sent Eddie O’Hara, a British Labour Party member of the European Parliament, to Rosia Montana to file an official report. Opposition to the mine, he said, was “substantial,” but it was “very much fueled by outside bodies, presumably well-meaning but possibly counterproductively. It seems in part at least exaggerated.” Mr. O’Hara concluded the opposition “do not take account of modern mining techniques and in fact the Rosia Montana project will help to clear up existing pollution.” He also warned that not allowing the mine “would remove any chance of local development for some time.”
So what next for the Soros-Redgrave gang? Probably accusing Labour MEP O’Hara of being a right-wing stooge.