I am pleased to write this letter of support of the Coeur proposal for mine tailings disposal to the Lower Slate Lake tailings storage facility in the most recent Kensington gold project proposal. Having been involved with the permitting process for this project at the local city level since 1992, both as a former member of the Juneau Planning Commission and Juneau Assembly, I understand the complexity of permitting an environmentally sound project that is also economically viable.
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The Coeur application approved for the second time by the Corps of Engineers clearly meets standards that would be expected for a rigorous and comprehensive water-quality monitoring program, fish and wildlife protection, and contains a contingency plan for unforeseen occurrences that include additional water treatment options as a backup plan. I am also very pleased to see the plans presented for site reclamation once the project is completed.
In addition to the environmental concerns, I am also very interested in the economic viability of this project. I have served on the board of directors for Southeast Conference for the past nine years and welcome environmentally sound economic development to Southeast Alaska. As the current CEO of a large regional nonprofit social services agency, I also see daily the challenges that the people of Southeast Alaska encounter as they work diligently to provide a stable living for themselves and their children. The economy in Southeast Alaska is very unstable, and as we have experienced, the consequences for many of our communities have been dire. There is a direct correlation between the downturn in our economy and the increasing need for emergency social services.
The Kensington gold project promises to be one of the remedies that will directly provide a variety of needed well paying jobs. In addition, the supplemental jobs that are likely to be created to support the project in our community will be a welcome relief for the many individual who are more than willing to work to provide much needed support for themselves and their families. Now is the time for our entire community to get behind this project and become a positive force for economic diversification in Southeast Alaska.