Coeur Alaska plans to use Lower Slate Lake for the temporary storage of mining tailings. This plan has been and will continue to be monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency very closely. This plan has been granted a "go ahead" by numerous agencies and proven to be environmentally sound. And yet, those opposed claim that this "destruction" of Lower Slate Lake will destroy our clean water and the critical habitat for salmon rearing.
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Now, I have a question engendered by what is now historical fact here in Juneau. During the days of the gold rush, before the A-J Mine was shut down, days when there was little or most likely no "environmental regulation," how come we still have salmon and clean water here? How is it that unregulated mining did not destroy our clean water and the abundant marine life and fisheries that we enjoy to this day? If the unregulated mining prior to World War II did not eternally destroy our beautiful environment, I highly doubt that the highly regulated mining that will occur at the Kensington Mine is going to destroy the water and the salmon fisheries.
All of this talk about the destruction of critical habitat and water quality is simply a ploy by those who simply do not want a mine there or anywhere. It is their belief that "mining is bad" and that it is "wrong" for anyone to seek gold to have a "crappy gold chain," as one writer from Haines put it. Of course gold has many other uses besides the making of jewelry, and my three gold-capped teeth are evidence of that. Once again, if the environment here in Southeast Alaska "lived through" the unregulated mining of pre-World War II days, then I believe it will continue to thrive during and after the highly regulated mining planned at the Kensington Mine.