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Posts Tagged ‘Tailings Dam’

The presidential campaign to this point has been a long, tough battle between two major parties. With less than 60 days left to tack on more bruises and fractures from both sides of the aisle let’s take a step back. Take a much needed deep breath.

The media’s obsession on vetting an unknown VP candidate is spreading into an all out blizzard. The world has zeroed in on a tiny strip mall town in Alaska. The blogosphere has turned its voracious appetite on the tasty bits that are immediately spread to the masses. The beauty of such real time tracking is its speed and breadth. The danger is when an unsubstantiated allegation goes viral and tarnishes a target unfairly. It is important to view both sides of an issue with as open a mind as possible. This is easier said than done.

Imagine yourself as a candidate or of a family member and one begins to see things differently. Sure, you can say that they are fair game because of their choice to run for such a high stakes office. But every person deserves a fair examination. One might argue that the unknown GOP VP pick is making it impossible to get to know her. Other than a couple of short public appearances and one major speech viewed by over 40 million or so Americans, most non-Alaskans know nothing about her.

In many people’s view, a person, particularly a public servant, is defined by their past, by their friends, by their family and by their actions. Please read the links below with an open mind, a grain of salt and decide for yourself:

Past:

A Letter About Sarah Palin from Anne Kilkenny…

http://community.adn.com/adn/node/130537

Palin pressured Wasilla librarian…

http://www.adn.com/sarah-palin/story/515512.html

Troopergate…

Todd Palin subpoenaed in firing probe

http://www.newsweek.com/id/158140

http://www.adn.com/monegan/story/517072.html

http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/516746.html

http://www.adn.com/troopergate/story/515508.html

Former political ally: Lyda Green

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2008/09/15/080915ta_talk_lizza

Good friend: Bob Lester

http://www.adn.com/opinion/comment/story/295464.html

Family:

http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/512560.html

http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/516787.html

http://frontiersman.com/articles/2005/12/06/news/news2.txt

Policy:

As Wasilla Mayor…

Palin got zoning aid, gifts in Wasilla

Sarah Palin’s record on environment is abysmal…

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/377955_palinenvir07.html

http://firedoglake.com/2008/08/29/sarah-palin-maverick-for-mining-interests/

https://tspey.wordpress.com/2008/08/27/down-but-not-out/

https://tspey.wordpress.com/2008/08/25/troubling-news/

Experience…. or lack thereof…

http://thebruceblog.wordpress.com/2008/09/06/video-jon-stewart-nails-palin-with-rove-and-oreilly-talking-points-hysterical/

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In terms of maps of the U.S., Alaska has long been neglected. Each morning on tv, the national weather maps represent our massive state as a shrunken-head version of itself tucked off in the left corner next to Hawaii… that is until today. 

McCain’s announcement in his choice of Vice President of the United States is… Sarah Palin? I thought last Tuesday’s statewide election results were a nightmare in which Palin played a starring role. Palin publicly stated her ‘personal opinion’ on how she would vote against the Clean Water Initiative six days before the vote of her people at a televised news conference. The CWI would have placed important clean water and salmon protections in place for the proposed Pebble Mine.

The Pebble Mine is THE mother of all open pit nightmares that is planned by British mining giant Anglo American and it’s junior Canadian partner Northern Dynasty Minerals. At stake is the world’s largest sockeye (red) salmon fishery in the world as the backers of Pebble plan on digging right at the headwaters of the Kvichak and Nushagak river systems which are home to the most prolific runs of salmon worldwide.    

Add that to the continuing investigation to her alleged abuse of power in regards to the firing of her Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan over a family-related  issue regarding her sister and her ex-husband state trooper. Recorded phone messages from Monegan revealed Palin’s and her administration’s fabrications that no phone calls were ever made pressuring the highly respected life-long cop Monegan to fire said trooper. Monegan refused to comply and was promptly dismissed.

Palin was elected on a platform of a clear and transparent government. A bold new symbol of change against an Alaska tarnished by corruption and greed… sound familiar? Sadly, in just two short years her promises have fallen sickeningly short and mirrors that of former governor Frank Murkowski’s embarassing tenure.

Shame has befallen this once great state. I have heard it from conservatives and liberals alike. We have been stunned into submission. Corruption is now a household term we eat daily for breakfast and go to bed with each and every night. We are a state with so much potential but so few leaders. Now America has been introduced to Alaska’s Sarah Palin. Is America this desperate?

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The issue of Pebble Mine exudes emotions. The anti-Pebble Mine side sees the possibility of unimaginable consequences for future generations. The pro-Pebble side sees something quite different. To put it simply, the development side sees dollar signs. As Alaskans you must ask yourselves… at what cost?

 

A fight has been waged that pits billions of dollars of mineral wealth versus the priceless resources centered around the world’s largest salmon fishery. The impact of allowing such a massive mine at the headwaters of this salmon fishery is staggering. Acid sulfide toxic runoff is the norm for this type of mine. Throw in a natural disaster in this highly earthquake prone region and catastrophe will ensue.

 

The Jan, 2000 tailings dam failure in Romania that sent cyanide into 2000 km of rivers downstream of the dam was BUILT BY THE SAME FIRM (Knight-Piésold) that NDM and Anglo American has hired to design Pebble’s 2 massive tailings dams. http://www.wise-uranium.org/mdafbm.html …”The investigation concluded that the accident was caused by the inappropriately designed tailings dams, the inadequate monitoring of the construction and operation of those dams and by severe – though not exceptional – weather conditions.” (Australian Broadcasting Corporation Dec.16, 2000).

 

There are many reasons to stand up against the development of this mine in this area. Undoubtedly you have seen or heard the flood of commercials on the air waves, newspapers, magazines and television. The various pro-Pebble Mine ads primarily feature just two reasons as to why we should mine Pebble. The first type of ad features some local Alaskans who are in support of the mine. Their claim is that they need the mine to economically survive in this time of skyrocketing costs.

 

After watching the next pro-Pebble ad such as the one described above STOP. Think about how long the local people will benefit. Think about what they and we must give up. Think about who will benefit the most.

 

The truth is that Alaska would receive just 0.1% in mining royalties while salmon in Bristol Bay brings in over 300 million/year in revenue to the state. Sport fishermen and hunters in the region bring in over 60 million/year to the state and local economy. Approximately 1,000 people will receive employment that may last 50 years. Consider that these 1,000 temporary jobs would jeopardize 5,000-10,000 permanent salmon fishing and tourism jobs should even a small amount of toxic run-off appear in the streams downriver from the mine. The thousands of sport-fishermen who spend millions each year on pristine once-in-a-lifetime trips will no longer come. Take all of this into account and consider the majority of the profits would go to the Canadian-owned Northern Dynasty Minerals and the South African-owned Anglo American mining conglomerate.

 

The estimated current total value of minerals of the Pebble Prospect is between $350-500 billion x 0.1% = 350-500 million / 50 years (approx. life of the mine) = just $7-$10 million/year in state royalties. This is only if current record-high commodity prices hold. The rest of the profits go to Anglo American (South Africa) and Northern Dynasty (Canada). Economically speaking, that’s $360 million/year from salmon (a renewable resource) versus $7-$10 million/year from Pebble Mine (a limited resource that has the potential to wipe out all of the salmon from the region)… The math just doesn’t add up.

 

The mine may last 40, 50 or 60 years. After which you have a massive hole in the ground and 2 equally massive earthen dams holding toxic-leeching mining by-products. Time and exposure to air and water only further oxidizes and makes more contaminants. Water has this funny thing of wanting to flow. Either down through the ground or down a gradient. Either helped by earthquakes which will de-stabilize the dams or by evaporation. There is NO WAY of permanently containing 2 large bodies of contaminated waste indefinitely.  

 

In truth, there are only a small portion of Native Alaskans that support Pebble Mine. The majority of Alaskan Natives stand firm against what they see as a direct threat to their way of life. Most know that salmon have and will sustain their way of life indefinitely. So long as we responsibly care for the areas surrounding the vital renewable resource.

 

The second claim the pro-Pebble side likes to throw around in their commercials is that the ‘anti-mining’ initiative is written in a way that will shut down all large mines in Alaska now and in the future. This claim is complete fear-mongering typical of a big money, foreign-owned mining company. These companies rely on their bottom-less pocket books to generate fear through propaganda. They bank on the hopes that the target (all Alaskans) will not research and vote based on fear. The fact of the matter is that Prop #4 was written to protect salmon. Specifically, #4 seeks to re-institute salmon protection measures that were erased by a mining lobby friendly Murkowski administration.

 

Recently, NDM and Anglo have financed commercials saying that voting for #4 is un-Alaskan. What gives the 2 foreign-owned mining companies the right to say who is un-Alaskan. Anglo American has one of the world’s worst environmental and human rights records. The mining companies are pouring upwards of $10 million in ads that smear and distort the fact that no mine of Pebble’s size has ever been successful in not polluting the environment. Given NDM and Anglo’s track record, why should we risk or believe otherwise at such a huge cost?    

 

The bottom line is that we have a duty to protect a salmon resource that can continue to provide food, jobs and tourism indefinitely. We as Alaskans must lead in this effort. Many in our local and state government and in our politically appointed positions are influenced by powerful lobbys. One can look no further than the disgrace of Veco and its dealings with both our state and national legislators. If the Clean Water Initiative fails and the mining company permitting process is allowed to proceed expect a swift approval from a Murkowski-diluted large scale mining permitting process from the Department of Natural Resources.

 

Can we rely on a foreign-owned company to direct how the future of our state will proceed? I for one am not willing to take that bet and am prepared to fight for a future with one less pebble in my wading boot.

 

VOTE TUESDAY, AUG. 26TH. YES ON #4. YES 4 FISH.

Please forward this link to as many people you know.Thank you.

 

Get involved:

http://www.renewableresourcescoalition.org/pebble_mine.htm

http://www.bristolbayalliance.com/index.htm

http://feltsoulmedia.wordpress.com/

 

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