In Tuesday's paper, Mr. Walsh's ranting and raving about the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council's lawsuit brings back familiar shades of the old Alaska-Juneau mine days and that city development plum and battle he decisively lost then. Now he is thumping the environmental community for expressing their societal values, and thinly veiled love for our dearest Mother Nature.
Walsh says he agrees with the environmentalist's claim that the mining industry's historic excesses do exist and he agrees that the Clean Water Act is a noble cause, even though it has been illegally circumvented by Mr. Bush, the Army Corps of Engineers, the U. S. Forest Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Conservation. But Mr. Walsh says this is now a thing of past history and we should be jumping on his pro-development wagon today and head on out to Berners Bay along with the governor, Juneau mayor, assemblymen, Native corporations and all other would-be wild land developers from both near and far. Walsh is telling plain folks something like -- it is natural, normal and environmentally safe to mine regardless of where it is or what it is, for historically Alaskans do that. Well, as Dylan aptly put it, the times they are a-changing and the same old development spin just won't wash anymore. The inviting revenue, increased tax base, more jobs and affordable housing hype is simply more power broker spin to appease city government expansion.
It is as clear as a mountain lake; the real value of Berners Bay can only truly exist if it remains as is, a living system and natural sanctuary. However, it cannot, for Tuesday's paper reported Coeur Kensington has noted several accidental toxic spills already, and they have barely gotten started. When and if fully started, Walsh tells us Coeur Kensington will be filling a shining crystal lake with "non-toxic" glacier-like, gold-less sludge making it both bigger and better for the fish and for us all. However, it would seem developers never learn anything even from the spin of others, as evidenced by Coeur mining in Canada and Idaho, where toxic cleanup is in progress after many years of cleaning up.
No Mr. Walsh, the times they are a-changing and society is off to have a fine democratic day in court.
Alan R. Munro