As Coeur d'Alene Mines likely prepares its corporate response to Matt Clifford's My Turn, which appeared last Thursday's Empire (Feb. 16), I think it would be good for folks in Juneau and Alaska to take a hard look, as I have, at the Clark Fork Coalition Web site and read what this coalition is working hard to set right there. For it is something that shear shortcutting and pure profit-driven mining has upset in Montana's Clark Fork River region. Dams were built and the resulting rising waters were filled with mine tailings. Later, these same dams failed from seasonal runoff, freeing crushed-rock toxins to flow throughout the region's watershed.
With understandable concern, this specific scenario is frighteningly similar to our own Coeur-Kensington gold mine controversy and is what corporate officials seem committed to do in Berners Bay, at least in terms of dumping their mine wastes. But in spite of numerous ominous warnings from concerned members of the public, governmental and private entities continue to go along with the Coeur-Kensington plan to dam up and dump their mine tailings into a pure clean sub-alpine lake. How can this possibly be happening? Is the draw of gold so irresistible that it is able to lure otherwise reasonable people into complacency or is it more about political power being guided by corporation wealth at the public's expense?