Kensington is not a new gold mine. I have a U.S. Geological Survey map of the Berners Bay area dated 1908, and there are nine gold mines including the Jualin, Bear, Ivanhoe, Northern Bell, Indiana, Horrible, Kensington and Comet. All of those mines had support facilities. These facilities included railroads, roads, trams, docks, powerhouses, and of course, facilities for the workers to live. Much of the forested area was clear-cut for timbers in the mines and burned for heat.
The area many are now referring to as undisturbed wild lands was used by hundreds of workers to earn a living. In fact, some of the area that was clear-cut for mine usage has been clear-cut a second time and is currently growing healthy young trees today. During those days, none of the environmental safeguards existed that we have today, and there is no evidence of long-term environmental damage.
I found a recent letter to the editor comical when the author suggested that Coeur move their mine to someplace else. To think that a mineral deposit is movable is interesting. Maybe that young person was suggesting mining as a way of moving the mineral deposit.
Coeur has promised local hire for the reopening of the Kensington and associated mines providing many of our young people long-term good paying jobs. This is a wonderful way to keep our young minds in Southeast Alaska.
Coeur proposes to share Berners Bay in a reasonable fashion. Two to three trips per day in a carefully thought-out transportation proposal warrants full approval. The National Marine Fisheries Service is being unreasonable in its consultation. Soon, no recreational users or fishermen will be allowed to use the bay. I believe the forest supervisor's record of decision is environmentally responsible and based on an overwhelming abundance of scientific information and sound engineering. The regional forester in his response to the forthcoming Southeast Alaska Conservation Coalition appeal should implement it.
It's time for the citizens of Juneau and our government to support Coeur and reopen the mines at Berners Bay.
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