Clean Water Act protects rights

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I had just graduated from high school when the Clean Air and Clean Water acts were enacted by Congress in 1972. As a result of these acts the last three decades have provided me, my family, my community, and my fellow countrymen and women with cleaner air and water. Legislation that ensures us of the fundamental right to breathe clean air and drink clean water is of immense significance and importance.

In order for the Clean Water Act to be comprehensively effective it must regulate the uses of aquifers, rivers, streams and lakes as its goal is to ensure clean water for the environment and humans. The Army Corps of Engineers has set a dangerous precedent in allowing Coeur Alaska Kensington Gold Mining Project to dump chemically treated mine tailings into lower Slate Lake. Should their permit stand, this would be the first time since the Clean Water Act was enacted 33 years ago that mining practices would be allowed to take precedence over clean water. This allowance should elicit a florid red flag for all Alaskans and Americans. I applaud and stand behind the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, The Sierra Club and Lynn Canal Conservation for filing suit against this egregious permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers.

As that high school student graduate over 30 years ago, I believed that our federal agencies were charged with protecting our fundamental rights, most importantly our health. It is a sad and dangerous commentary that the Army Corps of Engineers seems to be in the process of dismantling them.

Jenny Pursell


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