Regarding Coeur Alaska's proposed use of Lower Slate Lake as a tailings disposal site, Governor Palin should uphold the law and the Alaska Constitution.
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Article 8 section 3 of the Constitution states: "Wherever occurring in their natural state, fish, wildlife, and waters are reserved to the people for common use."
It is clear that supporting a plan to kill all fish in a naturally occurring lake (waters) is a violation of the constitution and would clearly deprive the people of Alaska their specifically reserved rights. This is especially true when the use of the lake for a tailings disposal site is not in any way necessary, and an environmentally less dangerous dry stack tailings facility was already previously permitted.
Additionally the constitution states in Article 8 section 4: "All other replenishable resources belonging to the State shall be utilized, developed, and maintained on the sustained yield principle."
A large dam holding back millions of tons of toxic mine tailings from entering on of the most productive fisheries in Southeast Alaska is not consistent with long-term sustained yield of the fisheries. Eventually the dam would either fail or leak, pollute Berners Bay, harm the fisheries and the wildlife that depends on the fisheries. The Army Corps of Engineers record of holding back water for the long term has been severely deficient in recent years, as the people of New Orleans found out the hard way.
The recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision banning the use of Slate Lake as a disposal site should be respected by the governor and the state Department of Law. The governor should uphold the Clean Water Act. (It is really unbelievable that I need to tell the governor this!)
I call on the governor to join the federal Department of Justice and immediately withdraw the state's request for a full review of the 9th Circuit's decision, uphold the Alaska Constitution and Support the Clean Water Act.
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