Need different approach to development

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, December 23, 2002

Recent anthologies in the paper rekindle hopes and various persuasions.

The old threadbare pitch for "a Juneau road," especially during the Murkowski road trip, shows a sincere but insensitive view of a promising 21st century. There does exist a more enlightened ecological approach to development schemes aimed at our dwindling natural habitats.

Ms. Walker states she is "a longtime (road) advocate" and cites the "vision" of building Hoover Dam as saving Nevada from remaining "a vast wasteland desert" However, anyone willing to leave their SUV and do a nature walk knows the desert will quickly show it is anything but a wasteland. Actually it is a unique and highly specialized ecosystem that took eons to evolve. Unless one wishes to count the many square miles that were deliberately flooded in the 1930s with a collateral purpose of fostering recreational boating and leisure. Here are located acres of desert aqua pura for us to play in. While a major injustice is done to our Mexican neighbors, who hold their own indigenous rights to the Colorado. Ms. Walker ends with, "Without vision our world would be stagnant." When said another way, this would mean, without the vision of enlightened individuals, like Muir and Murie, our world would quickly become stagnant, and ultimately, quite dead.

Mr. Richins, an environmental CEO with Coeur-Kensington mines, tells us in his My Turn (Sunday) that the worldwide corporation he works for is as environmentally sound, and conductive as a solid silver, or gold, circuitry. In fact, he says, Coeur will produce "14.5 million ounces of silver this year, and generate a positive cash flow for its shareholders." Well that's great, but really, how much more gold or silver do we have to mine - anywhere?

It seems the investment and/or sale value of precious metal (as an offset to a fluxing value of the dollar) is useful only to a rather elite group of shareholders and investors. Apparently, high-tech electronics' demand have peaked for the immediate future and decorative and medical demand are comparatively modest, so why is there a critical need for opening a gold mine in the pristine and wild place of Berners Bay? Especially when the gold mining employment history is so very precarious to daily and volatile world market shifts. Perhaps it is to offset a worldwide production decline? Even as private investment stocks are stable or actually increasing?

Alan R. Munro

Juneau



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