It appears our borough and the state are working at cross purposes on opening ANWR. Money and efforts made at lobbying the U.S. Congress are wasted by the failures made in dealing with other mineral issues.
Alaskans try to tout that "we can do it right." It takes more than touting to convince others. The rest of the country will judge us by our deeds.
Recent news articles have pointed out how the borough and state have failed to protect property owners in the Anchor Point area from gravel strip mining operations. This article is on the World Wide Web for the entire world to see and read.
Our own borough passed ordinances to protect homeowners from unregulated gravel mining. Later the gravel miners complained that the rules were too strict. What did our "mush for backbones" assembly do? Took the bit out of the ordinances to make the miners happy. The result was contaminated water wells, dried wells, and destroyed property values. Who wants to buy a house with water problems and a strip mine for a neighbor?
Our borough administration told the Anchor Point residents to take the miners to court as the borough would do nothing. I'll bet we'll see the borough as a losing defendant in this case. When the borough government acts carelessly, the taxpayers are handed the bill.
The people who live near the proposed Pebble Mine are, no doubt, seeing that while a mining company can make promises to protect the environment, and our boroughs and state can make laws and regulations to make it so, once the mine is started, all bets are off.
They can see that boroughs and the state will quickly cave in and change the laws and regulations that miners do not like. Can anyone see Gov. "Hard Hat" Murkowski saying no to miners? They know the only certain way to protect their environment and their way of life is to stop Pebble before it starts.
The Pebble project will be in the courts for the next 10 years, so don't count on any mining boom jobs any time soon.
If Alaskans want ANWR opened and more mining projects to go to production, our deeds are going to have to match our words. As of now, the borough and state governments are failing us.
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