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Alaska’s own Governor Sarah Palin spoke out Wednesday in opposition to the Clean Water Initiative #4… Palin cannot advocate for or against a ballot measure, officially, but she took what she calls “personal privilege” to discuss Ballot Measure 4.”Let me take my governor’s hat off just for a minute here and tell you, personally, Prop 4, I vote no on that. I have all the confidence in the world that the Department of Environmental Conservation and our Department of Natural Resources have great, very stringent regulations and policies already in place. We’re going to make sure that mines operate only safely, and soundly,” said Palin. 

In addition to Palin’s remarks, the State of Alaska has created a website “explaining” what prop #4 entails. It is clear from browsing the site where the state’s position is on the Clean Water measure (against).

Alaskans for Clean Water has filed a complaint against DNR for the recently-launched state website meant to clarify the issue for voters. The group believes the state is illegally staking its position on the proposition before Alaskans vote next Tuesday. A spokesman for the group called Palin’s comments “highly unethical.” The former Bristol Bay commercial fisher Palin has fallen as quickly as she has ascended. She was elected on her ‘transparency in government’ pledge. (google: “Frank Bailey” “Sarah Palin” “abuse of power” for more details).

In addition to Palin’s remarks what is MOST troubling is that the figures and charts on the state website are THE SAME data provided by the mining industry. How can we trust DNR to protect clean water when the mining industry is supplying the data to the state?

Who can we trust? It is up to Alaskans to protect our water for the future. Vote YES on the Clean Water Initiative Prop #4 on Tuesday, August 26th.

BREAKING NEWS:

As of 8/21/08 APOC (Alaska Public Offices Commission) ruled that the state website http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/opmp/mini…nitiatives.htm must be taken off line. APOC also said that no state official should criticize Measure 4 publicly. Also, APOC contested DNR’s claim on the Web site that Measure 4 would apply to existing mines.

How sad is it that the site had many thousands of hits. The damage is done and who knows what the ramifications will be. Alaska is truly in a sad state of affairs. Corruption is rampant, mining companies seem to have a heavy hand in the governor’s administration, in DNR, and on and on… I apologize for my ramblings but are we that blinded by $ signs?

Alaskans cannot afford to put blind faith in our governor, in her DNR and the British and Canadian mining companies that can almost taste Pebble. Vote YES on #4.

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Read this insightful article written by Dr. Bruce Switzer in today’s Anchorage Daily News.

 

COMPASS: Other points of view

By BRUCE SWITZER

 

Published: August 18th, 2008 10:24 PM
Last Modified: August 18th, 2008 10:42 PM

 

Ballot Measure 4, “An Act to Protect Alaska’s Clean Water,” is focused on preventing the certain disaster threatening the world’s largest salmon run — the Pebble Mine. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

Its intention is simple: mining companies cannot destroy salmon spawning streams or discharge mine waste into these streams in amounts exceeding federal and state water quality standards. “Mixing zones” would be prohibited in salmon spawning streams. Despite our opponents’ rhetoric, we support mining in Alaska. Pebble is simply the wrong mine in the wrong place, and the risk to Bristol Bay is far too great.

This is why the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, made up of 200 Native villages, endorsed Ballot Measure 4.

 

Every sulphide mine in conditions remotely resembling Pebble has polluted the surrounding waters. No acid-generating mine has ever been built in an environment as economically important and ecologically significant as Pebble, let alone where the ground is saturated; the water table is at the surface, and where experts predict a quake of magnitude 7.7 or greater.

 

If this is not enough, consider that the companies involved in developing Pebble have no experience in northern mining. Anglo American has never planned or built a mine in North America, let alone under the extremely difficult conditions at Pebble. Their partner, Northern Dynasty, has never planned or built anything. In its 2004 annual report, Northern Dynasty stated that Pebble is probably uninsurable because of accidents, spills, earthquake and “catastrophe.” Yet these companies want to build the largest-open pit sulfide mine in North America with the largest tailings dam ever built to hold back the tailings.

 

Who will monitor this toxic waste after the mine is closed? Sooner or later, the ground will shake, and with the weight of the tailings dam and the naturally unstable geomorphology of the ground, billions of gallons of toxic tailings will slide down to the sea.

 

Our opponents want you to believe that this is not about Pebble. Why then has 53 percent of the $8.2 million they have thus far spent opposing us come from the Pebble Partnership? They say that Ballot Measure 4 does not even mention Pebble. Of course it doesn’t; by constitutional law it can’t. They say it was written and proposed in secret. As if the Alaskans who gathered 30,000 signatures did it secretly?

 

The mining industry has attacked us for receiving donations from Americans for Job Security, but South African, British, and Canadian companies who call themselves “Alaskans Against the Mining Shutdown” have provided over 91 percent of the funds opposing us.

 

Our opponents claim Alaska salmon are already protected by the most stringent environmental regulations in the world. This is false. Before Gov. Murkowski, Alaska regulations were solid and reasonable, but not now. In fact, the Fraser Institute, a pro-mining archconservative think-tank, conducted a 2007 survey of international mining company executives and reported that of 117 states, provinces and countries, only nine had lower taxes and easier environmental regulations than Alaska, and that only one state in the Union was more friendly to mining — Nevada. Finally, consider this: all five operating hard rock mines in Alaska were permitted under pre-Murkowski regulations more rigorous than anything proposed under Measure 4.

 

If passed, new, large-scale metal mines may need to devote more attention to environmental protection during mine construction and operation. But, in most circumstances, already proven mining methods and technologies are available to accommodate the intention of Measure 4. Waste dumps can be set back from salmon streams, diversion ditches can capture toxic waste at the dump toe and divert it to a treatment plant, well-designed bridges can be built to cross streams instead of haphazardly installed culverts, and so on.

 

Ballot Initiative 4 does not shut down the mining industry. Existing mines are excluded; expansion of existing mines is excluded; and mines of fewer than 640 acres are excluded. If there is any question about this, the state can amend the act to strengthen the clear intent laid out in the initiative. Most mines could protect salmon streams — but not in Bristol Bay.

 

link: http://www.adn.com/opinion/story/497998.html

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