Study of Pebble effects long overdue

Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2010

In the May 23 Peninsula Clarion, an article titled: "Pebble supporters protest [legislative] study," attested to what many have believed for a long time. The Pebble Partnership would like to have the Governor, Alaska Legislature, and all Alaskans remain ignorant of the dire implications of the Pebble Mine, should it be permitted.

The proposed study should have been completed before the Pebble Partnership was allowed to drill its first test hole. To the credit of legislators Sen. Gary Stevens and Rep. Alan Austerman, the proposed study of the implications of the proposed Pebble Complex (mine, ore processing buildings, equipment, and toxic mining tails lake) for the Bristol Bay Fisheries, their salmon spawning streams, and a great portion of the Alaska Peninsula ecosystem is long overdue.

The proposed mine would be a large, open pit. The low grade gold/copper ore would be processed using a very toxic acidic cyanide leach. And the toxic mining "tails" would be put in a very large lake behind a 500-plus-foot-high (never before successfully built) earthen dam in an active earthquake zone.

If the mine were permitted, it is not a matter of if the spawning streams and fish would be contaminated with acids, heavy metals, and toxic cyanide but when! And much of this pollution is forever irreversible. Prediction: Large sums of money will be spent to stop this study to try to keep all Alaskans ignorant of Pebble's implications, and prevent legislators and bureaucrats from claiming "Plausible Deniability!"

Richard Hahn, formerly of Soldotna

Sequim, Washington

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