An Arboreal Assault & A Climate Report
Hospital Clear Cuts Mature Pines
Update: This story has been updated 10/08/2021.
“It went from construction to destruction,” was the way one Leadville Today reader put it as news spread regarding the destruction of a grove of mature pine trees on September 30th in front of the newly constructed $26m St. Vincent Health (SVH) facility.
While the social media post saw heavy engagement, SVH officials have not joined the online conversation with residents who footed the $26m bill for the new hospital. Why? And for what? Were among the questions that the LT newsroom was fielding on that last day in September. And then the online conversation began to grow.
“I saw this and was stunned. I am sure they will “landscape” it. Just don’t get it I guess!” posted LT reader Anita Jean Musslewhite Harvey.
The grove of trees stood at the southern edge of the health facility’s property line, running adjacent to W. 4th Street. The clear-cutting this pine-treed home to many a songbird was never in any plans presented to the public. But the action met with a swift and sharp online response AFTER the trees were destroyed. Here’s how some residents saw it
- Ya why? – Kris Adams
- Humans are so destructive. – Fran Masterson
- Wonder if the landscaping plan shows this (in which case – to the landscape architect, wtf?). Pretty sure the construction documents are public info and obtainable. – Tony Vazquez
- Do they even have a landscape plan? I wonder if there are fire mitigation rules they have to follow. I know, in Colorado Springs, after Waldo Canyon fire we weren’t allowed to have trees within a certain distance of structures.. evergreens were suppose… – Barbara Franke Bamberger
- Could be a safety issue for helicopters? At 10,500′, those birds don’t work the same as they do at lower altitudes. – Rikki Swedhin
- WtfWhy? – Brenda Martin
- I like how they are using Chaffee County Waste on Construction in Lake County??? – Beverly Windorski
- I thought Colorado was supposed to be concerned about our “aged and fagile ecosystem” – Lacey Rae
- WTH?!! That’s what makes the town!! – Annel Grace Jones
Tree Huggers Unite in Leadville Today
It should be noted that SVH has not responded to the online questions – should they choose to, those responses will be added to this report with a link. It is worth noting a couple of SVH staff members reached out to LT after seeing the social media post. Although they wished to remain off-the-record for fear of retaliation – they expressed an overall unhappiness regarding the trees from other team members as well as patients. Clearly many were caught off-guard by the decision.
For now, the pines may be gone but the soil remains, providing a rich bed of dirt for the new can of worms that just arrived at the facility. So, who’s gonna pop the top, SVH? #TruthBeTold.
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Update: St. Vincent Health responded to the social media post as follows (10/06/2021):
Climax Contributes to Renewable Energy
Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) – owner of The Climax Mine located north of Leadville Today – released its annual Climate Report to media outlets last week. The data details the work underway across its global business to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve energy efficiency, advance the use of renewable energy, and understand and enhance the company’s resilience to future climate-related risks.
While FCX’s international holdings are globally far-reaching, closer to home, here’s what the report said regarding its molybdenum operations, including The Climax Mine located atop Fremont Pass off Highway 91 in Lake County.
In its initial broad stroke, Freeport states it is the largest producer of molybdenum globally, a critical component in stainless steel and a variety of renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? No doubt it’s the upside to mining, how metals and minerals are used in the manufacturing of everyday products, as well as things that will help the planet. It is #goodtoknow.
However, for residents of a mining community, one of the primary environmental concerns with the industry is what happens to the leftovers once companies have extracted whatever precious metals or gems from the earth? And its here that FCX demonstrates it’s a company that does actually have the receipts to back up the narrative: being vertically integrated for 100% of their molybdenum production. Here’s how they do it:
“We have two primary molybdenum mines in Colorado (Henderson and Climax), and we also have by-product molybdenum production from multiple copper mines (Cerro Verde, Morenci, Sierrita and Bagdad). We roast molybdenum concentrates at our Sierrita operations in Arizona and our Fort Madison facility in Iowa, with roasting and subsequent conversion at our Rotterdam facility in the Netherlands. We produce a ferro-molybdenum product at a plant in Stowmarket, England.”
In 2020, FCX began engaging with the molybdenum value chain on climate-related topics. They anticipate that both their primary and by-product molybdenum products will benefit from their decarbonization efforts in the Americas.
But as most know, it’s their copper product that truly butters the bread for this publicly-traded company.
“As both a major consumer of energy, and as one of the world’s largest producers of the copper essential to enable the global energy transition, Freeport aspires to participate in, and positively contribute to, a 2050 net zero economy, said Richard C. Adkerson, FCX Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
In 2020, FCX published its inaugural climate report establishing a 15% GHG emissions intensity reduction target for the Americas copper business by 2030 and committed to aligning its future climate reports with the recommendations of the TCFD.
In 2021, FCX established a new 30% GHG emissions intensity reduction target for its Indonesian operations by 2030. FCX also completed its first global climate scenario analysis, enhanced climate expertise on its Board of Directors, directly linked climate performance with its annual executive compensation program and advanced its analysis of renewable energy opportunities in the southwestern United States.
“Our path to net zero carbon emissions will require industry-wide new technological solutions and innovation. We embrace these challenges and are focused on achieving meaningful progress through our internal efforts and through collaboration with industry partners,” concluded FCX Chairman Adkerson.
FCX is actively involved in various industry initiatives that are focused on climate, including the International Council on Mining and Metals and the International Copper Association. In addition, FCX is a patron supporter of the Charge on Innovation Challenge, a new global industry initiative aimed at developing effective solutions for large-scale haul truck electrification systems.
Fremont Pass: The Sleeping Indian Mountain
About Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE: FCX)
FCX is a leading international mining company with headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. FCX operates large, long-lived, geographically diverse assets with significant proven and probable reserves of copper, gold and molybdenum. FCX is one of the world’s largest publicly traded copper producers.
FCX’s portfolio of assets includes the Grasberg minerals district in Indonesia, one of the world’s largest copper and gold deposits; and significant mining operations in North America and South America, including the large-scale Morenci minerals district in Arizona and the Cerro Verde operation in Peru.
By supplying responsibly produced copper, FCX is proud to be a positive contributor to the world well beyond its operational boundaries. Additional information is available on FCX’s website.
LT Video Playlist: The Climax Mine
Local History of The Climax Mine
You might pass it every day if you commute along Highway 91. Or maybe you work at the molybdenum operation. But if you’ve never heard the story about The Climax Mine, here’s a great video from the LT YouTube channel. Filmed during a Workforce celebration of businesses that have operated for “More than 100 years in Lake County,” Leadville historian and former mine supervisor Howard Tritz shares the company’s fascinating back story, including how the heavy property tax contributor almost didn’t end up as part of Lake County!