Petersburg Mayor Pens Excellent AntiMining Column



Petersburg mayor Mark Jensen penned an excellent column  in the Juneau Empire about the negative and possibly tragic impact that Canadian mining companies can have around Southeast Alaska.

Here’s a sample of what Jensen wrote:

Alaskans are being asked to essentially bear all the risks and none of the economic benefits for nearly a dozen massive Canadian mines in the headwaters of the Taku, Stikine and Unuk transboundary rivers. This is not a typical ask, because Alaskans currently have no choice in the matter regarding how these mines are designed, permitted, built, operated or reclaimed. Nor do Alaskans have any specific assurances and guarantees that our water and fish will be protected or that any water pollution and damage to fisheries will be cleaned up or compensated for.

Last week in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Alaska’s entire Congressional Delegation again said what thousands of Southeast Alaska residents have said for years: We are not OK with this scenario. More specifically, their letter said, “Transboundary mining issues (must be treated) with urgency and focus today (that will) prevent discord and disaster tomorrow. … The stakes for Alaska are enormous.”

For Petersburg, where fishing is the lifeblood of our community, damage to our rivers and the fisheries they support would be catastrophic.

However, earlier in the week, as the delegation was finalizing the letter to Secretary Kerry, we learned that another B.C. mining company, Chieftain Metals, owner of the polluting Tulsequah Chief mine, is undergoing bankruptcy proceedings. Now that Chieftain has thrown in the towel, who will be responsible for halting the acid mine drainage into the Taku watershed, which has been flowing unabated for almost 60 years?

Read the rest of it here. Well done by Mayor Jensen.