Recent comments in the Empire remind me of all the obstacles the Greens Creek Mine had to overcome to begin operations. I remember similar rhetoric: "Young Bay will be ruined." "Hawk Inlet will never be the same." "The barges and shuttle ferries will ruin our recreational area." "The crabbing and fishing will be devastated." Well, it has been at least 16 years since Greens Creek opened and Hawk Inlet has not been harmed.
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Neither fishing nor recreational experiences have been ruined, and the well-kept camp looks much like the original cannery. In fact, aside from the ship loader, you would never know that it wasn't a cannery. Young Bay is virtually untouched by the mine. Any reasonable person would have a difficult time saying that the bay has been ruined by mining activity or that their recreational experience has been diminished by the traffic in Young Bay.
I, too, use and enjoy Berners Bay and am comfortable that all the regulating agencies monitoring the Kensington Mine will do their job and Coeur Alaska's impact on the bay will be no different than that of Greens Creek's in Hawk Inlet. Hopefully, the Kensington Mine will have begun gold production by 2007 and the lawsuit that is threatened will have been forgotten. Coexistence between the recreational users, the fishermen and the miners should be the norm.
The taxes that Kensington will contribute directly and indirectly to the city coffers, approximately $2 million a year, are also a tremendous plus. The approximate 200 year-round, high-paying jobs will also generate untold revenue for the city. That will go a long way toward bailing out the city's new high school, for example, which, at this time, is already $10 million to $15 million over budget. Let's not fool ourselves. There are lots of reasons we want and need the Kensington Mine right now.
Pres., North Pacific Erectors
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