Millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have been poured into research to understand and conserve the dwindling populations of the marine mammals and fish dependent on Berners Bay by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. And now, to benefit the pockets of a non-Alaska mining corporation and provide a few short-term local jobs, the Alaska government and the U.S. Forest Service are going to throw away this science and taxpayer money, and risk the viability of one of few remaining healthy ecosystems in our country?
More than 4 million tons of mining waste, as well as industrial port facilities and barges, are not going to go unnoticed by the ecosystem and animals that depend on it. Why are the U.S. Forest Service, Gov. Murkowski and the Alaska U.S. senators pushing this project through the system, despite the fact that the project plans have changed, bringing the mine into the north end of the bay, which the Environmental Protetion Agency warned would bring "significant impacts" to the bay?
Please help to stop this blatant disregard of science and common sense. There are no second chances when ecosystems are destroyed. We need to make sure that if we are willing to threaten an area like Berners Bay, we follow the necessary procedures to examine and minimize the impacts. If we are not capable of doing so, then we don't need more gold jewelry. The short-term benefits of 10 years of jobs should not be our excuse for manipulating the system. If we allow this mine to destroy Berners Bay, 10 years of jobs at the mine could come at the expense of marine mammals, fish, an extremely popular recreation area, and tourism jobs that, in the long run, would employ far more people for far longer.
Juneau Empire ©2014. All Rights Reserved.