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Subsidizing pollution

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, January 13, 2006

The mining industry supports both mixing zones in salmon spawning habitat and in-lake disposal of industrial waste. Both of these choices threaten Alaska's Wild Salmon brand and the thousands of existing Alaskan jobs that depend on our productive fisheries. Coeur does not have any right to turn a public lake into a private toxic waste dump. Slate Lake is a public resource.

Dumping industrial waste, generated by a profit-making corporation, into a freshwater lake that is owned by people of the United States, is just plain wrong. Coeur wants to make more money by destroying our lake. Pollute our lakes, streams and ocean water, and take the money and run. That is Coeur's plan. If they are required, as well they should be, to run their operation in a nonpolluting way, they would not make as big of a profit. Therefore, they would like the public to subsidize their polluting industry by offering up a perfectly clean lake for Coeur to turn into a toxic waste dump. This is unprecedented in the history of mining, and without a doubt unacceptable in our modern society. It is also a violation of the Clean Water Act.

In response to Robert Tonkin's Jan. 5 letter and his inability to find a "single instance of irreversible devastation and degradation of the natural resources," I would suggest that he Google "Superfund sites," "toxic mining waste" or "Anaconda copper mine." Mining creates millions of tons of toxic waste. That's an indisputable fact. I do not want the toxic waste of a corporation dumped into our lake to save a few bucks.

Coeur showed us exactly what it thinks of clean water. Coeur was content to allow mine construction to trash Johnson Creek, a salmon stream, by 1,600 times the allowable limit on sediment until they were caught red-handed. That's called pollution of the public watershed.

No matter how Coeur sugar-coats what they want to do at Slate Lake, it's not just about what happens there. The governor, DNR and the conservation groups have said it: What happens at Kensington will spread to mines across the state.

I am not willing to risk those long-term, world-renowned salmon jobs for the dirty scraps of a mine. Coeur, either conduct a nonpolluting operation or go away. Don't pollute our public water resources.

Fred Einspruch

Haines



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