Support your miner neighbors, support Greens Creek Mine

Our friends and neighbors work at the Hecla Greens Creek Mine on Admiralty Island. Each work day they make the long commute, put in a hard shift, and return to our community to spend wages, raise families, volunteer in the community, pay taxes, and enjoy the life to which we have all become accustomed. Right now those employees and their operation are asking the US Forest Service to modify their permit to expand the tailings storage facility so operations can continue for as much as 50 additional years. Greens Creek has proven an exceptional neighbor, as has its employees. I am the President of First Things First Alaska Foundation and we wish to express our gratitude for all Greens Creek and its employees have done and continue to do for our community and region. We hope everyone in Juneau, Southeast, and throughout Alaska appreciate their exemplary efforts to create wealth from rocks and spread that wealth through wages, purchases, and capital.

The U.S. Forest Service has closed the public comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for their requested tailings disposal facility permit expansion. This permit expansion will allow Greens Creek to continue doing what it has done so successfully for the past 25 years, and create capacity for as much as 50 additional years. First Things First is dedicated to educating the public about out natural resource based economy in Southeast Alaska. When you think economy, think jobs: your job, your neighbor’s job, and the jobs that keep our community moving forward. Natural resource extraction has been and will continue to be the backbone of the Alaskan economy — and in particular that of Southeast Alaska. With the decline of Southeast’s timber industry, mining is the one shining light that promises growth of high paying year-round employment. The average mining industry job pays $100,000 per year. Greens Creek offers employment opportunities for both urban and rural residents. Economic hardship has hit our villages disproportionately, and a camp operation such as Greens Creek facilitates village employment to the maximum extent practicable.

Greens Creek has proven mining can coexist with the wildlife and wilderness values of rural Admiralty Island and Monument. Copious monitoring data have been collected over the past 40 odd years, which document minimal to unmeasurable environmental impacts. Thus the cost/benefit of Greens Creek is exemplary. Greens Creek is a demonstrably viable long-term economic driver – including paying taxes – and every reasonable effort should be made to maintain or enhance its economic vitality for the benefit of its employees, supply businesses, Juneau, and other Southeast communities.

By issuing a permit to expand the existing tailings storage facility and continue uninterrupted operations, Greens Creek can continue to generate the wealth that makes our lives possible here on the last frontier. We have submitted our comments to the Forest Service. We encourage the Forest Service to issue the Final Environmental Impact Statement expeditiously and not delay and disrupt project operation and workers lives. Delay is denial. The report and over 40 years of environmental data show how neighborly Greens Creek has been. Let’s support our miner neighbors and ensure we all continue to work toward a prosperous future. If you have commented in support of DEIS Alternative B – thank you. Protect those paychecks.

• Chambers. of Juneau. is president of the First Things First Alaska Foundation.


Mon, 02/27/2017 - 20:01

My Turn: Trump’s looming assault on the separation of church and state

The president’s recent spate of executive orders; the continuing debate surrounding his immigration ban; the fallout resulting from his contentious interactions with two of our most trusted allies (Australia and Mexico); and his shocking defense of Vladimir Putin, a criminal, dictator and human rights violator, succeeded in deflecting attention from his fiery pronouncement to “destroy” the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches from engaging in political activity at the risk of losing their tax-exempt status. What the distractions failed accomplish, however, was diminishing the importance of safeguarding the principle of the separation of church and state.

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Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:37

Rich Moniak: Presidential lies that matter

President Donald Trump did not have “the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan” as he said during his first press conference last week. The fact that he’s wrong doesn’t justify calling him a liar though. It’s an insignificant statement. But like his predecessors, it should serve as a warning that, whenever it serves his own interests, Trump will discard the truth on serious matters.

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Mon, 02/27/2017 - 10:20

Letter: State senator’s form letter full of misinformation on Planned Parenthood

I have been in correspondence with my Senator, Dan Sullivan. I was able to let him know by email that I want him to continue support of Planned Parenthood federally and locally. I am disheartened by the form letter I received from him. His letter was full of misinformation that reflected/used the words that pro-life organizations do. If he is going to write back to his constituents, he should use language that shows he is aware of what the laws are and how funding really works. Read more

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:32

My Turn: Gov. Walker shouldn’t fleece taxpayers while cutting budget

Gov. Bill Walker, you should be ashamed of yourself for stooping so low to even consider further fleecing the very taxpayer who supports a lot of this so-called government, especially since you already took 50% of the permanent fund as another form of tax to support your already top-heavy bureaucracy that never seems to get or have enough to spend.

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