Chuitna River should not be sacrificed for coal mine

Alaska was ranked as the happiest state in the union in 2014, according to research done across the country by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

Why? I believe a significant reason is because Alaska has the unique beauty and natural resources that contribute to residents’ love for what we do each day and to our physical, financial, social and community well-being.

Most Alaskans have some sort of daily access our natural treasures. And salmon is one of the most valuable and accessible natural treasures in our state, providing for subsistence, sport, and commercial fishing. The Chuitna River, across Cook Inlet from Anchorage, and sometimes called the “Kenai River of the West Side,” is one of our state’s beautiful resources that nurtures salmon.

The proposed Chuitna coal strip mine would completely destroy the underlying water flow paths essential for overwinter survival of salmon eggs in a primary tributary of the Chuitna River, Middle Creek, by tearing it apart to mine underneath, and setting a precedent of destructive mining practices.

Is it worth sacrificing a renewable resource that supplies many Alaskans with subsistence, for a finite resource that will benefit only PacRim, an out-of-state company, and the countries it exports to? Will this mine add to the well-being of Alaskans by taking our salmon? By polluting our air? Will it help Alaska remain the happiest state? Submit your comment to keep water in the Chuitna by emailing DNR (kimberly.sager@alaska.net) and Gov. Bill Walker (bill.walker@alaska.gov) by April 9.

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