Win at Berners and move on

Posted: Sunday, February 06, 2005

The deadline for filing appeals to the Kensington Mine EIS is Monday, Feb. 7. SEACC has declared the intention to file such an appeal. I am appealing to SEACC to think again. I have followed the efforts to re-open this mine for nearly two decades. The current mine plan is the most environmentally sensitive of all previous plans.

The average user of Berners Bay will not see anything other than the crew boat dodging the airboats that are already there. Yes, there will be two docks. The one at Slate Cove will provide access to a road that already exists. The other dock will connect with a road that is now under construction but generally invisible behind a deep fringe of forest. The mine and surface facilities will be all but invisible. There is zero concern over waste water.

SEACC now offers itself as the defenders of the Tongass, emphasizing the tourism jobs associated with the natural setting. The group has a chance to regain some credibility and respect if it allows the possibility of mining. In a public forum three years ago, a SEACC representative was asked "is there any mining project or timber sale anywhere in the region you would not oppose?" The representative spluttered and could not name a single such project.

This is an opportunity to do better and show some sympathy to the region and its people. There is no doubt that the Kensington is a better project because of SEACC's involvement. This is a time to declare victory and say you've done the best you can. Please, SEACC, call this a win and move on.

Murray R. Walsh


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