Shame on USFS for its impact statement

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, December 31, 2004

I would like to denounce the announcement by the U.S. Forest Service's environmental impact statement and their OK for Coeur Alaska's proposal to use Cascade Point and Berners Bay to access the Kensington Mine.

This is a noteworthy and abominable announcement on at least three levels: 1). Berners Bay is unique and irreplaceable, biologically and recreationally, as has been reiterated in these pages, and elsewhere, ad naseum. This proposal would negatively impact the character of this Southeast Alaska treasure forever. I think we all know that at this point. 2). It is premature and likely contrary to the opinions (yet forthcoming) of the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Marine Fisheries Service. The EPA and NMFS have not been known to be much of an impediment to developmental interests during the Bush II administration, and for these agencies to be having concerns over this proposal, makes one think that the USFS has truly capitulated to industry on a grand scale, without regard to long-term biological consequences on Tongass National Forest land in Berners Bay. 3). This EIS was officially announced on Dec. 24. Hmmmm, interesting, a day when most of us, if not all of us, are a bit preoccupied with Christmas. The Bush administration has a long history of making potentially controversial announcements on Fridays, often Fridays associated with a holiday. Shame, shame on the Forest Service for having adopted this cynical practice. We are on to you.

Let us thank the courageous NMFS and EPA employees for doing a stand-up job, in what must be a tremendous amount of pressure from pro-development interests.

Mark Robertson

Juneau



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