While I am not surprised that a group has formed to oppose the Alaska Clean Water Initiatives, I am more than a little dismayed at how extreme their campaign of disinformation is, and I am disheartened that some elected officials and public figures are so grossly misrepresenting the facts.
In a Jan. 20 Peninsula Clarion article, for instance, one of our elected officials stated that the initiatives could "totally shut down extraction of our resources" and could even impede ordinary citizens from recreational gold panning. Both statements are disingenuous to say the least and the former so blatantly false and over the top as to be almost laughable. It makes one wonder if he has even read the initiatives.
It is clearly stated in the initiatives that they apply only to new large scale metallic mineral mines larger than 640 acres, and that all existing mines are clearly grandfathered in, statements that could not be interpreted any other way by the courts, if it ever came to that point.
Simply put these initiatives are about not allowing the release of toxic pollutants into our drinking water or salmon streams by new mines, such as the Pebble Mine, and would have no effect on existing mines, placer mines, coal mines, recreational miners, oil and gas operations, sewage plants, boating or any other activity.
When all is said and done, let's be honest, we are talking about Pebble Mine, the only mine, other than possibly the proposed Donlin Creek Mine, that at the current time would be affected by these initiatives. These initiatives are clearly designed to protect our drinking water and salmon streams and only regulate mining projects that occur on areas where the water is used for these reasons.
We all have different views, trade-offs we are willing to make when it comes to our natural resources and environment, but please, let's not let the truth fall victim to these views.
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