In casual conversation, I recently asked a city official what he thought of the idea of re-opening the AJ mine. He responded, “Sounds good, having the tailings in a deep hole.”
I realized he had not done his homework. He was clearly leaning toward the idea that re-opening the AJ mine is a good thing as long as the tailings are deposited deep into the ground. This would, supposedly, provide a natural haven for keeping the mine tailings contained. He was not informed on the scientific evidence — that there is a high probability of contaminating Juneau’s drinking water by re-opening the AJ mine. Past scholarly studies, verified 20 years ago, were vividly portrayed by Alaska’s senior geologist, Roman Motyka, in his My Turn (April 19, 2011).
I believe the citizens of Juneau must prevail again, to ensure its precious resource – pure drinking water -- is protected. I implore our city officials to take a long, hard look at the scientific facts and not just the short-term economic gain. Scientific evidence tells us that “out of sight” is no guarantee that Juneau’s aquifer will be protected.