Blame should be on Coeur's engineers

Letter to editor

Posted: Friday, July 21, 2006

I don't know why the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council and other environmental groups get blamed for Coeur's permit and litigation problems on the Kensington Mine. The company's engineers and managers are the ones to blame. They are the ones who have chosen an illegal course of action - dumping treated mine waste into a pristine alpine lake. Such action would be a direct violation of the Clean Water Act, and a horrible precedent that could affect water bodies across the country.

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The company's rationale is that dry stacking millions of tons of waste rock would be more costly than dumping it in the lake. But the Clean Water Act can be disregarded or overridden only in exceptional cases where there is a compelling social or public justification. There is no such justification in this case; it is simply a matter of cost. The company chose to gamble that they could get away with the violation, and the legal proceedings resulted. We're all awaiting the court's decision. That's how the system works.

William E. Brown


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