Go slow on mine changes

Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Don Smith's editorial Sunday leaves little for one's imagination. There can be absolutely no doubt about his allegiance, dedication and keen interest in the corporate mining giants of the world. He unabashedly brings it all home to our little old city of Juneau. Personally, I like that. I know exactly where he stands on the issues.

On all accounts, mining is a shaky business to be in. It is not only technically challenging, it's finite and risky at best. This risk factor exists all the way from mine site to the stock market, to the investors' pockets and back again. So then, if it's already a tough business to be in, why do the environmentalists want to hold corporate feet to the fire? It's all about mining's national and international track record. Unfortunately, not all Juneauites know that mining corporations are notorious for despoiling land they extract valuables from in the name of profit margins. Granted, the industry is environmentally cleaner now then in the not-too-distant past. But it is still a very far cry from being clean of toxic waste. Accomplishing an acceptably clean mining operation means adopting a correct attitude, a firm belief and an eager willingness to protect precious environment so many other creatures and we call home. In other words, we must lovingly develop a deep respect for our planet Earth at the expense of monetary greed.

Mining's a complex concept. It is not simply about more jobs, money, electrical power potential, and becoming a respectable member of a community, and its places of worship, as Publisher Smith's bias suggests. Nor is it totally about political maneuvering, or conflict of interests. Nor is it just about the hopes of a few with vested interests. It is about removing, at the wishes of the mining industry, the city's existing, fairly won, and necessary rural mining permit regulations representing a hard-forged compromise between the pros and cons of mining.

Mines out of sight do not always infer out of mind. "Rural" mines are both on our minds and within 15 minutes of the recreational sight and minds of residents and visitors alike in Juneau.

Let your Assembly rep know how you feel about this unnecessary action being hurriedly voted on soon, at the specific request of the mining industry. Ask for more citizen participation and deliberations.

Alan R. Munro


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