Disputes spin

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, July 25, 2004

Labor Commissioner Greg O'Claray's My Turn in Friday's Empire regarding Coeur Alaska mining begs me to ask the question: I wonder how he got from a local AFL-CIO union management position to Murkowski's Department of Labor cabinet post?

Of course, I can only guess how, but one thing that is certain is that O'Claray's opinions were timed just right for trying to place state influence on the Monday evening federal EPA and Army Corps of Engineers public hearing and testimony to be held in Centennial Hall.

Is it simply a coincidence? I think not. But what is both simple and incredible to me is the spin O'Claray puts on just how environmentally safe and productive this profit-making mining venture is going to be. He continues to varnish his fantastic reality to a high development gloss by indicating this venture also will produce a magnificent boon for local developers and for all our local hire hopes.

The real truth is that many solid scientific concerns go unanswered about the planned release of toxic gold mine tailings into Slate Lake, and the hugely increased industrial boat traffic that will occur in pristine Berners Bay, and finally the true reality that many of the jobs O'Claray touts will simply come from an already trained and experienced industrial mining work force that exists in other mine sites across the country.

It is a well-kept corporate secret that headhunting is constantly going on within the industry, and skilled workers migrate all the time all over the country and world. The old saw used by the present administration that it knows the industry will not pollute even one little bit and will use all-local hire, again simply tries at a self-serving manipulation and once again and quite naturally, it doesn't cut the environmental mustard.

Let's turn out in force Monday evening and do a scientific and emotional show and tell. A world-class Berners Bay region deserves no less.

Alan R. Munro


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