Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Alaska Voters’ Choice: Mining Company Profits or Salmon Habitat

Next week in southwest Alaska’s Lake and Peninsula Borough, voters will have an important choice to make.  This region is home to one of the world’s largest salmon fisheries.  And a gigantic mining conglomerate wants to undertake a huge gold and copper extraction project right here.

Next week’s Save Our Salmon initiative will ask voters whether or not to ban all local extraction/mining activity that could threaten salmon habitat.  Hmmm…one of the world’s largest salmon habitats, or higher profits for a mining company…a resource that renews itself every year, forever (i.e. salmon) vs. a resource that gets extracted from the Earth only once (wreaking havoc in the process), and then that’s it…

The proposed mine would be right above Iliamna Lake, which has more sockeye salmon than anywhere else in the world.  The local Bristol Bay Native Corp., with more than 8,000 shareholders, is opposed to the mine, needless to say.  The company’s CEO said the proposed mine is an “unacceptable risk to Bristol Bay salmon, which have supported our communities for thousands of years.”

Robert Redford has gotten involved in this issue, along with a lot of world-famous chefs.  And some of the biggest-name jewelers have vowed not to sell any gold that comes from this mining project.

The proposed mining project is called Pebble Mine.  It’s being promoted by Pebble Limited Partnership.  It’s a joint venture of Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. and Anglo American plc.  And that’s enough tangled corporate-speak; my head hurts.

An attorney for the Save Our Salmon group said:  “It's not a NIMBY thing so much as a survival thing.”

He said putting that mine near Iliamna Lake would be like putting a nuclear plant next to an elementary school:

“To these people, it's completely inappropriate and incompatible with the life they want to live.”

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Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

I hope those voters get it right, because if they don't they're likely to be sorry for a very long time.

I think one of the problems with mining nowadays is that in pursuit of efficiency and maximized profits mining operations use such gigantic trucks and digging equipment, do so much with high explosives and churn out so much waste and runoff, the environmental impact is huge and very damaging.

In Appalachia they're taking down whole mountains at a time, filling in valleys as they go. The destruction is so great that it changes weather patterns.

October 3, 2011 at 1:47 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Sounds fishy to me.

October 3, 2011 at 6:31 AM  
Blogger Jack Jodell said...

I hope they vote in favor of salmon and against the minimg company.

October 3, 2011 at 8:33 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: I too hope the voters will get it right. The wrong decision would be irreversible. For one of the world's most pristine fisheries and wildlife sanctuaries to turn into Appalachia -- mountaintop removal and all -- is unthinkable.

Randal: I wondered what that smell was.

Jack: I hope so too.

October 3, 2011 at 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good thing Palin isn't still Governor. I can see her writing down on her hand how much she supports the mine and winking everywhere.


October 3, 2011 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: I'm sure Palin will be chiming in, how this mine represents Freedom for hardworking Americans; Real Americans.

October 3, 2011 at 1:27 PM  

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