Coeur Alaska spins the facts

Posted: Monday, May 01, 2006

Could it be possible that Tim Arnold, vice president and general manager of Coeur Alaska, might have some personal interest involved in his "Top 10 reasons for Kensington Mine," (April 9) or is it just me?

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With all the propaganda for the blissful beauty of the mine, do we really need another 10 reasons that destroying the natural habitat of Lower Slate Lake is a good thing? Excuse me if I sound sarcastic, but I was appalled at Mr. Arnold's spin of the facts.

The 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would allow Coeur Alaska to dump 4.5 million tons of waste products into Lower Slate Lake over 10 years. That alone is reason enough to put the ax to the project right now.

Right project at the right time? Maybe for the big business of Coeur Alaska, but what about the Clean Water Act that permit 404 clearly undermines. Why is the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers allowing Coeur Alaska to break the law? The Clear Water Act was established to nip such subversive nonsense by environmentally unfriendly corporations in the bud.

Listen to this: "The Clean Water Act was created back in the early '70s for this very reason. Because industries were dumping their wastes into water bodies, and kids were getting sick, and fish were dying, and people finally said 'enough is enough,'" said Kat Hall, an organizer with the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council.

Just because Coeur Alaska has jumped on the Bush administration's tweaking of the Clean Water Act doesn't mean that Coeur Alaska isn't breaking the law. Is this another way for a corporation in the business of breaking the law to make more money for themselves by throwing a few locals some scraps and calling it community benefit?

So, Coeur Alaska is going to wreck the natural environment of Lower Slate Lake for 10 years and then wave its magic wand and make everything better. Wow! I'm so relieved. Thanks for easing my mind, Mr. Arnold.

But perhaps polluting the lake, destroying aquatic life and wreaking other undisclosed havoc isn't worth the tiny, inconsequential long-term benefits the mine will have for the community.

It's time for us to get real about environmental impact. A third-grader could tell you, Mr. Arnold, that dropping 4.5 million tons of waste products into a lake is a very bad thing. Talk about wolves in sheep's clothing.

Ryan Sotomayor


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