Visit Berners Bay

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The opinion section of Sunday's Juneau Empire appears to carry two messages from its fairly new publisher, Bob Hale. The editorial, with no byline, and Hale's Vantage Point both offer a defense of the proposed Kensington mine.

One can clearly hear a good old cheer: One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and - well, we will just wait to see if there is a - four to go.

Publisher Hale apparently received the development message loud and clear when he was courted and dined by Gov. Frank Murkowski soon after he arrived in Juneau, as Hale himself reported earlier.

Hale's simultaneous support of our magnificent wilderness and the burgeoning mining industry, both only a short distance from home, certainly begs the question: Has he been to Berners Bay yet?

We know he's lived in Houston, Texas, a place he was only too glad to leave because of a runaway industrialization combined with inevitable pollution. He's lived in mid-America where it was deemed too underdeveloped. So what are he and other pro-developers really looking for in Juneau? I think they must know very well and don't much care or they really haven't dwelt much on what our precious wilderness means to all of us.

I've only been in Juneau for 32 years and 10 months, hardly anytime at all. But in that relatively short time I've seen, to mention just a few, the herring disappear from Auke Bay and clearcuts that denude forest areas near Hoonah, and toxic mine piles on Admiralty Island that just continue to grow and grow.

Now in defense of environmentalists, we aren't the anti-industry schemers that pro-developers love to portray. Really, we are for the very reasonable and workable concept of sustainable resources and value-added economics that a robust and diversified cottage industry promotes elsewhere. It's a totally healthy process saving the natural beauty of our region so it may be utilized, preserved, and perpetuated, without the inevitable pollution created by a Houston-type industrialization of Berners Bay.

Our future generations are surely entitled to inherit no less of a responsible model from us but certainly not one that serves to increase personal wealth of gold investors in New York City.

Alan R. Munro

Juneau



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