SEACC ad, Empire headline misleading

Posted: Thursday, December 14, 2006

With their advertisement in the Dec. 5 Juneau Empire, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council continues to mislead the public. The ad showed a boy fishing and included the usual verbiage as to whether Kensington should be allowed to implement its approved tailings disposal plan.

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As someone who has visited the mine site, I can tell you that the photo in the SEACC ad is not Lower Slate Lake. As a longtime resident of the Juneau area, I can also tell you that the small lakes in and around the Kensington area have never been regarded as a prime place to go fishing. They are inaccessible and are commonly known as "dead lakes" since they host few if any game fish. This misleading ad may appeal to SEACC's uninformed constituents who don't live in Alaska, but most Juneau residents will see right through it.

Also misleading is Sunday's front-page Juneau Empire article "Ninth Circuit rules against Slate Lake mine project." The headline and part of the article reads as if SEACC won the big court case against the mine. The ruling is simply an extension or stay of an existing injunction that the mine is complying with until the case is heard. This is not a court ruling against the approved mining operation as the headline suggests.

I think it would be beneficial to the Empire's editorial staff and to Juneau citizens to be reminded that the quote from SEACC Executive Director Russell Heath, stating that SEACC prefers dry stack tailings, is a disingenuous departure from the organization's previous opposition to this method.

As to the question posed by the SEACC ad, I say "yes," let Kensington implement the best environmental plan - the tailings disposal plan that has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, and many other federal and state agencies, and that has been upheld through previous administrative and judicial appeals. I have much more confidence in the regulatory agencies than I will ever have in SEACC.

The current permitted method proposed by Coeur Alaska will rehabilitate Lower Slate Lake, and once the road to Skagway is built, the boy in the SEACC picture could really be fishing at Lower Slate Lake.

Andrew Green


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