I read Drew Green's My Turn in the Juneau Empire (Feb. 6) with keen interest and a considerable amount of concern.
Perhaps Green was at Centennial Hall on the evening of Feb. 4 along with a good number of concerned residents of Juneau. This in spite of the stormy winter weather. There were some very good questions asked of the Department of Natural Resources and Redfern and one salient point kept recurring. It was the untested, unproven nature of Redfern's proposed hoverbarge and amphitrac method of transporting mining ore and supplies to Juneau on a year-round basis.
Green's assumption that if these vehicles were once used on the North Slope tundra then they must be OK is not only a huge stretch, but also is totally inaccurate. The Taku River is an entirely separate environment and cannot logically begin to serve as any sort of comparison.
Redfern will evidently be the sole witness of its proposed vehicle tests to be held in Scotland and on the Columbia River. There will be no independent, unbiased observers and the results will be interpreted by Redfern with only a required pass-through review by DNR - a state permitting agency primarily designed to encourage the economic development of our natural resources for the main and possibly the sole purpose of general economic gain and promotion of the state of Alaska for further development.
Green also mentions the Tlingit people and their deep roots in the Taku River valley. Please know that the Tlingit First Nation has opposed the resurrection of the Tulsequah Mine from the beginning, since it is their very life and culture that is at stake if this mine is allowed to endanger the Taku River and it natural system, and especially for the purpose of corporate stockholder reward. The Taku River is paramount in spiritual value for its renewable natural resources and for a very precious way of life. This should transcend the growth of any corporation's wealth, be it a domestic or foreign corporation.
Alan R. Munro