To the editor: Sometimes it seems as though we live in a culture that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Tom Collier, CEO of the Pebble Partnership, said in a March 10 story in the Bellingham Herald while referring to opponents of the Pebble mine (I’m not making this up), “They choose Alaska primarily because they don’t have to suffer the economic impact of the project being killed because no one gives a rat’s ass what happens in Alaska.” Actually, Collier is worried about the economic impact to his own wallet because his $12.5 million bonus will disappear if the permit process is not expedited within four years.
A few years ago, I spoke with David R. Montgomery who wrote “King Of Fish — The Thousand Year Run Of Salmon.” He is one of the premier experts on salmon habitat and the effects of human activities on salmon. I asked him for his opinion of the Pebble Mine. He was unequivocal in his assessment that it would be a disaster for salmon and the people in the fishery. Humans have severely degraded or destroyed every other major salmon fishery in the world. Bristol Bay is the last intact one.
Multinational mining companies have left a horrific environmental legacy worldwide. A huge open pit mine with its millions of tons of contaminated tailings would have to be monitored forever (not likely to happen). Bristol Bay is a jewel, largely unspoiled, incredibly productive with a renewable resource valued worldwide. If Alaskans risk this for shareholders whose bottom line is profit, then we would be handing our future to people who truly “don’t give a rat’s ass about what happens in Alaska.” If you care about this, speak up now. Federal and state governments are fast-tracking this abomination.