Mines leave pollution

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, August 04, 2004

This spring, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a report naming Alaska the state with the highest discharge of toxic materials into the environment.

The main reasons cited for this disgraceful distinction were, one, the Red Dog Mine, and two, the Greens Creek Mine. Now Coeur Alaska is offering us a third source of contamination: the Kensington mine.

Mining companies always promise to run a clean operation, hold themselves to the highest standards, obey all laws, etc. Perhaps Coeur really means it this time, but Coeur has a history of leaving Superfund sites in their wake. Whether their main impact would be in Berners Bay or in Lynn Canal, the risks to the marine environment are too great.

Kensington might provide a few jobs to Alaskans for 10 to 15 years. But most of the high-paying jobs would go to workers imported from Outside. A pristine environment, on the other hand, can continue to provide employment to Alaskans forever through fishing and tourism. Let's not risk destruction of our permanent economy for the glittering false hopes of Coeur's gold mine.

Eric Holle


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