Agencies ignore Berners Bay

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Mining always leaves a place worse off than before. It's a fact, no matter how Coeur sugarcoats it. It is also a fact that much of the Kensington Mine's facilities will be on or affecting public areas, places like Berners Bay that have long provided Juneauites and visitors with unrivaled recreational opportunities such as hiking, kayaking, wildlife viewing and fishing.

When the National Marine Fisheries Service says that mine operations will harm Berners Bay resources, but the Forest Service gives the mine a thumbs-up, it is clear that the Forest Service is more interested in getting the mine rolling than protecting the public interest. The Environmental Protection Agency and National Marine Fisheries Service published statements questioning the mine, but that didn't seem to make any difference in the Forest Service decision.

I'm glad the Southeast Alaska Conservation Coalition has been asking the hard questions and pushing for answers. Juneau deserves to know what a mine in Berners Bay will really do. Since the federal agencies seem unwilling to fill that role, I wanted to give a sincere thank you to SEACC for making sure that a mine doesn't destroy a place that's so vital to our community.

Jeremy Neldon


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