A disappointing mine subsidy

Posted: Sunday, October 09, 2005

I was disappointed, but not surprised, to learn the state will be picking up the bill for upgrading Coeur Alaska's road from Slate Creek Cove to their Kensington Mine. After all, this project fits right in line with the Gov. Murkowski's roads to resources agenda. What bothers me is how the state feels compelled to use public money to subsidize a road the public will never use. Furthermore, Coeur Alaska certainly has the financial assets to fix the road. Their parent company has hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank. And with high gold prices and a waste disposal plan (mine waste will be dumped in a lake) that will increase profits 100-fold, how can the governor justify giving this company our money?

Recently, Gov. Murkowski said the Kensington Mine represents the foundation for a stronger regional economy. I can't imagine how a risky boom and bust industry like mining could ever serve as a foundation for an economy. History has demonstrated over and over again that economies overly reliant on resource extraction only bring riches to a few in the short term while leaving communities scared, polluted and wondering where the jobs went. We only need to look at our state and federal timber industries to see how corporate welfare provides raw materials to other economies while leaving us stumps and a few logging jobs.

The land and the people are the true foundation of our economy, Gov. Murkowski. I suggest we redirect roads to resources funding to programs that provide our citizens with immediate and direct benefits like health care, education and maintaining the roads Alaskans use every day.

John Hudson


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