Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wire thieves leave hazardous waste at Idaho campsites

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Authorities say that what looks like the ashes of burned rope at campsites in Idaho may be hazardous waste.

A sharp increase has been reported in illegal burning of wire insulation on public lands throughout the West.

The Bureau of Land Management, for example, reports four cases in the last three months in the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area south of Boise.

The agency's top official in Idaho, Loren Good, says drug addicts steal electrical wire, then burn off the insulation to get a bigger payoff from scrap meal recyclers.

The insulation is dangerous to human health as well as the environment, and removing the ashes properly can cost $500 to thousands of dollars.

Another BLM official, Steve Moore, says anyone who encounters wire insulation ashes should contact authorities.

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