Southeast Alaska Conservation Council is threatening to sue the Forest Service to stop the Kensington Mine. Their main argument is that the mine would further endanger sea lions, which are already in danger of extinction. The sea lion population in Southeast Alaska is strong. It is only in the Bering Sea that it is in danger.
Coeur has already withdrawn all proposed mine operations from the sea except ship traffic. The marine traffic to and from the mine will be insignificant compared to already existing marine commercial and tourist traffic in Southeast Alaska. If marine traffic in fact endangers sea lions and humpback whales, then SEACC should sue to stop all cruise ships, ferries and barges in all of Southeast Alaska. That would be ridiculous.
SEACC also said that the Forest Service has "jumped the gun." Excuse me, but this environmental process has been going on for over a decade, much longer if you count Coeur's in-house investigations. Environmentalists have already backed Coeur into this minimal-impact scenario. The environment permit process already has served the public well. SEACC's action would be a frivolous lawsuit that wastes our legal resources.
Bruce R. Berryhill
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