I'd like to submit a reminder to Bradley Fluetsch who finds fault with SEACC receiving "Outside" money (Feb. 8 Juneau Empire). The Tongass National Forest belongs to every U.S. citizen, not just residents of Southeast Alaska. The Forest Service mandate is for multiple use and sustainable use. The long history of unsustainable dominance by big timber corporations on the Tongass ignored the needs of honest hardworking commercial fishermen, charter owners, subsistence users and small locally owned tour operators.
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SEACC has been a great leader in creating a healthy environment for sustainable, long-term employment and getting us away from single industry dominance and boom-bust cycles.
Regarding Berners Bay and the Kensington Mine, what is at stake is a whole lot more jobs than the 400 mining jobs (at Kensington) that I keep seeing mentioned in letters and ads. If approval of the Kensington Mine allows a more lenient interpretation of the Clean Water Act, this will have repercussions nationwide. And there are certainly more than 400 (commercial fishing) jobs at stake in Alaska if the Kensington decision sets a precedent for the proposed Pebble Mine.
It is easy to get the impression that proponents of the Kensington Mine feel that the only valid jobs are mining jobs. What about the commercial fishermen across the state who stand to lose if water quality standards are lowered? Don't you care about their jobs and their families? Of course you do, so please, don't pretend they don't exist.
Pretending that global warming didn't exist created some big problems. Pretending that BP was operating with state-of-the-art technology has created big problems. Pretending that it is no big deal to lower the bar on our Clean Water Act will create big problems. This is a much greater issue than whether or not we put mine tailings into Lower Slate Lake. This is a national issue that has wide-reaching effects on health and jobs across the country. It deserves national attention.
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