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Opinion poll feedback

Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2003

I take issue with your decision to not publish the results of your poll regarding the proposed Berners Bay land swap on the grounds that the poll question was "...imprecise and misleading" simply because a Coeur Alaska representative indicated that the land swap was not necessary for Coeur to proceed with the development of the Kensington Mine.

While perhaps not absolutely necessary for development of the Kensington Mine, I suspect that availability of the Berners Bay land proposed for transfer to the Cape Fox and Sealaska Native Corporations could certainly facilitate the development and operation of the Kensington Mine. I don't think your poll question is at all misleading or imprecise. I think it tells it like it is.

The question asks: "Should Congress authorize a land trade involving the federal government that could make land near Berners Bay available for use by the Kensington gold mine?" As stated, your question addresses the possibility that the land trade "...could make land ...available for use by the Kensington gold mine."

It doesn't say it would make land available for that purpose. It says "could." And the proposed land trade "could" indeed make the land available to facilitate mine development and operation. It "could" also make it available for other development activities, such as logging. If these types of activities aren't possibilities for the Native corporations and/or Coeur, why would the land trade have been proposed in the first place? I suspect the majority of respondents to your poll were opposed to the land swap and that the Empire is just scratching for a way to bury the results of the poll (regardless of the stated informal and unscientific nature of the poll) by declaring the poll question "imprecise" and "misleading." Prove I'm wrong (or right?) by publishing the results of the poll.

David Carlile

Juneau

Thank you for your letter. Rather than being buried, the results were available for viewing on our Web site each day throughout the week-long duration of the poll. As of Saturday, when we concluded the question was flawed, the tally was about 60-40 against congressional approval of the land swap. We understand that our conclusion about the question having been flawed was not shared by everyone. Still, that is our judgment. A better question could have taken two forms: One asking whether readers favor or oppose the land swap (period), or, one asking whether readers favor or oppose a land swap that, if approved, would "facilitate" the mine's development. As we said on Sunday, we will revisit this issue in the future. - Editor



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