SEACC should be more even-handed

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2007

David Fremming's letter to the editor about Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (Dec. 16) was right on. Here is an organization that expounds on protecting the environment and yet seems only to go after big ticket issues like mining, logging and road building. If they want to be true eco-voices for this community, shouldn't they be more even-handed and not just push hot topic buttons that further their funding, media or national attention?

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Juneau was founded as a mining town, before major environmental laws. It must not be a hazard to dig through old tailings downtown for sewer and water lines. Developing the rock dump south of town is allowed. Using Sandy Beach doesn't seem to produce birth defects. The building of the new Mendenhall Valley high school was not questioned because of it being either on or very close to a place where very toxic things were buried in the past. We can live with a growing mound of garbage by a wetland. Dumping road snow in Gastineau Channel must be compatible with the Clean Water Act and MARPOL. These are just a few examples of possible concerns that SEACC does not make a commotion about or accepts as a non issue.

SEACC stopped a mine that was permitted for development, in an area with a history of mining, because they worked the legal system to their favor. I guess once you get the attitude of David beating Goliath, more mundane things do not give you the same rush.

I think anyone living in Alaska cares about the critters, land, water and air around us. It is a special place. But there are those of us who do depend on the responsible development of resources here to make a living and accept the risks. Without oil money over the last 30 years, where would we be now, selling more of our soul to the tourist industry or a less populated destitute state? If it wasn't for this resource-developed monetary windfall, would SEACC's zeal to stop logging and mining in our area have been less?

Unfortunately, SEACC seems to have a direction that is to delay or permanently stop certain high-profile developments to make a political point that hurts the local, state and national economies. Then when it comes to little issues closer to home, they seem to have their heads down in the muskeg.

Mike Allen


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