Soldotnan says 'Yes' to 4

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2008

Pebble Mine proponents say that Alaskans who want to protect their clean water dependent resources by voting "Yes" on Proposition 4 will be putting restrictions on what waters the mining industry uses. They argue that by putting restrictions on how they store wastes near rivers and streams would be appropriating a resource.

Anglo American and Northern Dynasty plan to use vast quantities of water from the headwaters of Upper Talarik Creek and store mine tailings in Frying Pan lake. Their dams to contain wastes will be near valuable fishing rivers.

If our fisheries and clean water were valued as assets in a corporation who had to answer to Alaska shareholders, there would be a great outcry over such a cheap hostile takeover by a foreign corporation of Alaska resources.

It is Pebble Inc., with its immense need for water for slurry and the resulting toxic waste, that is in actuality appropriating our future use of clean water in perpetuity. Their own prospectus to stockholders states that if an unforeseen pollution event occurs at the mine they may not be liable under our state law. Bonds placed at other mines such as the Zortman Landusky mine in Montana have been too low to clean up rivers resulting in bankruptcy.

Proposition 4 simply puts back in place our clean water regulations to limit damage from mining that Gov. Frank Murkowski erased without a vote of Alaskans. The Murkowski administration changed our Alaska water quality standards to allow mixing zones for toxic wastes in rivers and streams. This change made it easier for Pebble and the over 100 satellite mines lining up behind Pebble to store and allow a certain quantity of wastes to leach into our rivers and streams without violating the new mixing zone standards.

Vote "Yes" on Proposition 4 if you want to put our more stringent state water quality regulations back in place to protect Alaska's rivers, fisheries and clean water dependent businesses and wild foods.

Betty Whittenberg


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