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Berners Bay is priceless

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, February 15, 2005

It's sad that Alaskans seem willing to permit Coeur Alaska to despoil Berners Bay by building the Kensington Mine. Imagine Cascade Point with a breakwater 125 feet wide and 425 feet long and boat dock that's 300 feet long. Picture a dam 128 feet high by 500 feet long at Lower Slate Lake. This dam has to hold back 4.5 million tons of mining tailings forever. Coeur Alaska argues that it can recreate a viable ecosystem in Lower Slate Lake, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency remains unconvinced that the lake could be restored.

After 10-15 years Coeur Alaska plans to leave. Best case scenario is that we're left with an abandoned industrial port at Cascade Point, a partially decommissioned port at Slate Cove, and a polluted lake. Worst-case scenario may include damage to the bay's rich marine life. Will the revenues generated by building the infrastructure for the mine and the 10-15 years of mining activity be greater than the intrinsic value of Berners Bay as a beautiful and healthy ecosystem? Berners Bay is priceless and should be protected from development by Coeur Alaska.

Martina Kallenberger

Juneau



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