Count me among the many Alaskans who is anxious to vote for the Clean Water Initiative. I believe the initiative is the only way to force the Pebble Mine developers to engineer a nonpolluting way to extract minerals. If there is no way to mine the metals without destroying the watershed, then Alaska doesn't need this type of job creation.
Protecting Alaska's water, plant and animal resources is not my only reason to vote against Pebble. I am appalled at the size of the proposed land grab in the Bristol Bay watershed -- 154 square miles, 98,600 acres for Northern Dynasty alone. This doesn't count the seven or eight other corporations filing additional claims in the same region, which all told cover some 1,000-plus square miles of pristine wilderness.
If this foreign-owned project goes forward, the mineral claim will mean possession of the surface rights to all that land. The mine will build roads, runways, power lines with long easements and small communities necessary to extract the subsurface minerals. Access to and use of the land will be controlled and restricted by the corporation. The mine will extract strategic metals that will possibly mean involving Home Land Security (feds) with all their restrictions. (Remember the OSK dock in Nikiski?) Forget about the access we all enjoy to these public lands. Pebble, Anglo, Cominco, etc., will have their own private hunting and fishing preserve.
Please vote for the initiative to protect Alaska's water resources and lobby your legislators to force the developers to scale back their land claim. This environmental assault needs to be to be controlled now.
Robert E. Merchant
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