None of Alaska's lakes is expendable

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, July 14, 2006

Coeur Alaska's psyops campaign rages on. Its recent advertisement farcically titled, "Protecting Alaska's Water" (Juneau Empire, July 7) is packed with sham propaganda about its plans for the fill material. The material it plans to dump in Lower Slate Lake is not the "fill material" found at construction sites and gravel pits - it is toxic waste.

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The Environmental Protection Agency stated that dry stack tailings was the preferred disposal method, but Coeur Alaska chose to ignore the recommendation. Having three million lakes in Alaska does not make destroying one acceptable.

Coeur's ad says that at the end of the mining, the company will restore the lake and restock the native fish populations. Gee, that sounds like a mighty big promise. What do you say to just not destroying it in the first place? Historically, that has been much more successful than taking industry's word that it will make it all better later. Exxon feels it has cleaned up its mess to its satisfaction. Does anybody without a financial stake in it agree with Exxon?

If Coeur is allowed to dump its waste in Lower Slate Lake, it will set a precedent for other mines to do the same thing elsewhere. They know this. This is why a win on this issue is so important to both sides. Just when you think Alaska could truly protect what wilderness we have left, politicians and soulless corporations contrive a new way to profit from its destruction. We Alaskans want our water clean and our fish wild.

Steve Reese


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