The Canadians are proposing a gigantic open pit mine, the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (KSM) mine, at the headwaters of the Unuk River in British Columbia. The Unuk River flows into Misty Fjords National Monument just north of Ketchikan — an area where hundreds of commercial, sport and personal use fishermen rely on healthy waters. As an owner and operator of a sportfishing company here in Juneau, I can only feel anxious about the negative impacts that could result if this massive mine with acid-generating tailings continues to move forward.
I am also extremely surprised at the number of people in Southeast Alaska who have not even heard of the KSM mine. KSM is comparable in size to the proposed Pebble Mine, which is on its way out the door because of its potential impact on fisheries in Bristol Bay. The KSM mine is only one of many proposed mines in this region; another open-pit mine, Red Chris in the Stikine River watershed, is scheduled to open in this month. We, as Southeast Alaskans, as fishermen and as business owners, need to come together like folks did to protect Bristol Bay. Our great salmon rivers, our fishing industry, our tourism industry and our recreation rely on healthy waters and fisheries.
There are organizations in Southeast Alaska uniting on efforts to urge the State of Alaska to work with Canada and our federal government to protect our fisheries. I encourage you to tell everyone you know that it is time to take a stand; it is time to encourage our government to work for what is best for Alaskans – the fish. Talk to your local politicians. Write to our State and congressional delegation. Take action at www.salmonbeyondborders.org. Educate yourself before it’s too late.
Hooked on Juneau