My turn: Mines will not destroy Southeast Alaska

Posted: Friday, March 28, 2008

A lfredo Velasquez in his letter to the editor on March 26 said we should "stop all the mines."

He asked: "Why should we sacrifice the lives of our millions of children in the future by feeding only a few thousand people in the present?"

So I ask this question: If the tailings from the highly unregulated mining here in Juneau between 1883 and 1944 did not sacrifice the lives of the "millions of children" in the future of those past Juneauites, how is it that the highly regulated Kensington gold mine is going to sacrifice the lives of "millions of future children"?

I mean, we are all still here. The fish are here. The waters are clean. This impassioned plea may stem from a desire to see "no development of wild places," but the argument is ludicrous. It is fine for a person to "not want a mine," but to use these emotional and scientifically inaccurate descriptions to persuade the public's opinion against the mine is dishonest. Just like the arguments used by those who do not want a road.

One argument is that building a road will "destroy the critical habitat of the Steller Sea Lion". Are you aware of the (Steller) Sea Lion Caves on the Oregon Coast, where tourists can take an elevator into the sea lion's cave for viewing? I wonder how much blasting and construction it took to install that elevator back in 1961? And yet the sea lions remain, as they have for centuries. Check it out at

It is one thing to not want to see a mine go into production, but it is another thing to use fear tactics to promote one's views. And these fear tactics are used all of the time. The words "destruction," "destroy," "critical habitat," "sacrifice of millions of future children's lives," "destroy the sea lions," are nothing but misleading ploys by the C.A.V.E. People (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) to stop a form of progress that they simply don't like.

Couer Alaska's Kensington mine should be allowed to operate until the gold is extracted and the place is returned to its natural state as is the plan, permitted over and again by the Environmental Protection Agency, and many other environmental regulatory entities.

History proves that this one mine will not destroy the beauty of Southeast Alaska and the marine life which abounds all around us to this day. It's all around you, just open your eyes.

• Kevin C. Nye is a Juneau resident.

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