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Stronger laws needed to protect salmon

Posted: Friday, January 28, 2011

I was at the hearing about strip mining the Chuitna. I did not speak, and I've been trying since to find words to express my anguish and sense of urgency. The image that keeps coming to me is metaphorical. Imagine a world in which some people have the power to use body parts of other living individuals for their own profit. "Say! I'll bet we could sell some lung tissue for big bucks in Timbuktu! There's a healthy body! She doesn't need all her lung tissue! Let's take that! She'll get over it!"

The representative from Pac-Rim reminded us that this hearing wasn't about the specifics of the project, just about the viability of the possibility of the concept of the idea of maybe doing some mining of some kind sometime if it's necessary and lucrative. "Let's not get ahead of ourselves here!" he suggested.

We're way behind ourselves for this even to be on the table! No! We need to decide right here and now and forever that we will not take the healthy body that is Alaska's wild salmon cycles and its interaction for eons with all the innumerable elements and layers of the health of the life here and sell it to anyone. We need to find a voice.

Many of us have been on a long lark in Alaska, either not realizing or appreciating the true value and unique nature of this place, or assuming that it will never be threatened in this way, or "believing" that it will heal itself no matter how much damage we choose to inflict. Whatever the excuses, we don't have laws and protections in place that prevent this kind of possible assault on the vitality, sustainability and longevity of this vibrant life we are part of in Alaska. Strong laws need to be put in place. Now. And we need to engage the brain, open the heart, fill the lungs and find a voice to make that happen.

Carol Ford, Nikiski



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