The editorial in the March 31 Empire (“EPA must be unbiased in their study”) begins with a quip from Ronald Reagan saying that the most terrifying words in the English language are, “Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” So, we can surmise that the Juneau Empire management favors “the less government, the better” philosophy.
What immediately came to my mind was the tragedy in Japan. The Japanese government is the only entity that has the resources to help shelter and feed the homeless, search for the missing and attempt to find and identify the deceased. Do those victims look terrified of their government?
Compare Japan to the Haitian earthquake where the government was, and still is, incapable of doing anything, or Hurricane Katrina when our own government, with the noted exception of the U.S. Coast Guard, failed on so many levels. I submit that the most terrifying words from government are, “You’re on your own. Deal with it.”
The second philosophical issue highlighted in the editorial is the Environmental Protection Agency’s “intervention in Alaska’s affairs.” By its very nature, the EPA is biased towards environmental protection.
Hence the name.
The Empire says of the EPA study, “Here we’ll have to subscribe to the theory of positive pessimism, wherein we may expect the worst outcome but will be delighted should the best occur.” If the best is that the EPA determines that Pebble Mine developer Anglo American Plc can proceed, then there is a very high possibility that the worst will indeed occur because they have walked away from environmental disasters all over the world. (Easy to find with a quick search on the Web.)
Who will then be expected to clean up the mess, provide support for the impacted villages, pay damages to the Bristol Bay fishermen and processors and try to salvage the brand of Alaska salmon?