There's more to the Pebble Mine

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2006

Its interesting how lately just about anyone opposed to a development project is summarily painted "green" or "labeled an "Outside interest" by proponents of those projects. Eric Treider's use of these dubious tactics in his comments on the Pebble Mine not only fly in the face of reality but would lead one to believe this project is truly good for all Alaskans.

First and foremost, Mr. Treider neglected to mention the Pebble Mine project could include the largest open pit mine in North America, cutting across the headwaters of a major portion of the Bristol Bay drainage. Ask just about any Alaskan, green or otherwise, about the importance of Bristol Bay and you're apt to get a common response: fish. And though not as productive to state coffers in the short run, left intact, over time state revenues from the fish in Bristol Bay will far exceed the benefits Alaskans stand to receive from projects like the Pebble Mine.

Mr. Trieder also conveniently forgot to mention that the Pebble Mine project has been undertaken by Northern Dynasty, a firm based in Canada with ties to an even larger outside interest, Galahad Gold, based in the United Kingdom. Maybe Mr. Trieder is willing to prostitute our natural resources to foreign corporations in typical Third World fashion but I think we can do better.

Were the Pebble Mine to be located on some unproductive tract of tundra, away from the richest fishery in the state, Mr. Trieder's contention that "The Pebble Project could be one of the best things that ever happened to Alaska" may be right on the money. Unfortunately for all of us that is not the case.

Sen. Hawker's resolution does just the opposite of what Mr. Trieder would have you believe and in fact protects the vast number of jobs and lifestyles that flow from Bristol Bay fisheries. As a card-carrying NRA member, nearly 20-year full-time Alaska resident and someone who makes a living in fisheries, I support Sen. Hawker's legislation and know Mr. Trieder can keep his can of green paint out of the issue.

Mark Kaelke


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