Lower Slate Lake needs protection

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, March 03, 2006

More than 30 years ago, Congress passed the Clean Water Act to protect our nation's waterways from acting as dumping grounds for industrial waste. The intent was clear: A resource as vital and fragile as our public rivers and lakes should not be forsaken for private interests.

Today, however, the Kensington Mine proposes to dump 4.5 million tons of mine tailings directly into Lower Slate Lake - a plan that will kill the natural abundance of the lake (likely all fish and aquatic life). Mine tailings are not benign materials. They consist of a slurry of industrial waste laced with the chemical residues of the gold extraction process. The lake will never be restored to its original state.

We should not leave this sort of legacy for our children. By allowing the Kensington Mine to despoil Alaska's wilderness we are opening the floodgate for projects throughout the state and the Lower 48 with these debilitated standards. Alaskans need to ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency upholds the Clean Water Act and that the Kensington Mine does not proceed until we are guaranteed a project that follows the law.

Sara Chapell

Haines



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