Coeur Alaska's actions and ad campaign regarding its Kensington Mine are arrogant, misleading and irresponsible. They have known all along that dumping toxic mine tailings into Lower Slate Lake above Berners Bay is illegal under the federal Clean Water Act and would be challenged in court. Yet it arrogantly proceeded.
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Coeur Alaska irresponsibly led investors and employees to risk their finances and futures with a project that is on shaky legal ground. Now Coeur's ads mislead the public into blaming conservationists for placing mining jobs at risk when it is Coeur itself that is doing so. Had the company proceeded with its dry-tailings plan, no one would be challenging its permits today.
Thousands of Americans fought long and hard for our Clean Water Act. It is America's most important protection against industries that would pollute our waters, placing profits above public health and well being, and above environmental protection. If the courts allow Coeur to turn a pristine Alaska lake into a mine dump, it will set a dangerous legal precedent, placing other lakes, rivers and U.S. waters at risk.
The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council and other conservation groups should be commended for challenging Coeur in court, defending Alaska's waters and the fish, wildlife and people who depend on them.