Taliban kill dentist from Durango was the shocker headline in yesterday s Durango Herald. When I opened my newspaper last night I had to sit down before I fell down. Tom Grams was my dentist and he was a longtime advocate of our work here at EARTHWORKS Oil & Gas Accountability Project. In 2007 Tom retired from the dental practice he built in Durango, Colorado, to pursue his passion of providing free dental care to impoverished children around the world.
Dr. Grams and his 10-member team were returning from a two-week medical mission north of Kabul last Thursday when they were attacked and killed by Taliban gunmen. Their driver was the only survivor.
Tom championed a lot of groups in our neck of the world a region both blessed and cursed by its geology. Our mountain and high desert canyon country is breathtaking and so rich in natural resources that impacts from mining and drilling are a huge part of our past and our present. When we started OGAP in 1999 to expand our regional oil and gas organizing efforts to work with communities across the country to prevent and minimize drilling impacts, Tom was one of our first supporters.
Tom will be remembered and honored for his work and service at a memorial this Sunday afternoon in Durango. We will remember Tom for his passion, dedication and support. Our sympathies go out to his family and friends. He will be missed.
Afghanistan could become the latest country to see conflict bloom in the name of mining. The Pentagon has been busy helping promote the country as a potential new mining bonanza worth $1 trillion. The potential is there -- maybe for mining companies to make lots of money, but also for mining to fuel conflict and cause further disasters for communities and the environment. Afghani Blood Gold could be on its way.