No thanks, Coeur, for the development of Berners Bay

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, January 07, 2005

As a 2004 graduate of Juneau-Douglas High School with the intent to major in natural resources management, I have been interested in the Kensington Mine project moving from its original plan in Lynn Canal (Alternative A, supplemental environmental impact statement draft) to the heavily controversial Lower Slate Lake in Berners Bay (Alternative B). As has already been reiterated by many previous letters, this move would significantly impact key wildlife species which impact the whole ecosystem of species interacting with the environment.

This project involves the Army Corps of Engineers, the Forest Service, Coeur Alaska, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and many other organizations interested in the future of Berners Bay. I have a very personal interest in the bay myself; memories from my childhood fishing, crabbing, kayaking and canoe trips, hunting, and camping on Labor Day weekend out at Echo Cove, the entrance to the bay.

Public planning of recreation and the resources that Berners Bay provides is important in the conservation of the bay. I attended the public comment meeting in the proposal stages of the project and appreciated that there was the opportunity to do so. I realize (or hope that) these organizations are interested in maintaining sustainable use of the land for the members of my generation. We are the generation that will be taking jobs offered by corporations such as Coeur Alaska. We are also the generation that will be left with the land used by corporations such as Coeur Alaska. Many in my generation will rely on the jobs that the development of resources provide. I also cannot stand by and watch Berners Bay be destroyed in the hands of Coeur Alaska.

As a member of the future of Alaska, I say "No thank you" to the developments of Berners Bay. There are other places to be developed (375 million acres in Alaska). Please find somewhere else - perhaps logged areas around Ketchikan, or the original 1997 plan. I appreciate the efforts of all the organizations interested in developing at Lower Slate Lake for making the project "the best and safest proposal yet" for the environment. I hope they will continue to strive for this level of satisfaction for every project. "The purpose of conservation: The greatest good to the greatest number of people for the longest time." - Gifford Pinchot, first director of the U.S. Forest Service

Nina Schwinghammer


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