As we watched our Alaska governor speak, at the Republican convention, we were proud to see her do well. But then she said the words, "clean coal!"
As someone who's fished for Alaska salmon, the governor should know there's no such thing as "clean" strip mines. We live in the community of Beluga, close to Tyonek, on the west side of Cook Inlet, where an Outside corporation wants to tear open a 55-square-mile coal strip mine. The Department of Natural Resources -- the agency that illegally opposed the recent Clean Water Ballot Initiative -- already has accepted a permit application that would allow over 7 million gallons of mine waste to be dumped each day into the salmon fisheries of the Chuitna River. Worse yet, this would be the first project in Alaska history where a mining company would be allowed to strip mine an active salmon stream.
Also, this project's export facility will trample the private property rights of setnet fishermen who've held leases to this area for generations. "Clean coal" is a marketing gimmick invented by the coal companies.
We want to see Sarah do well, but if she's truly a "reformer," she needs to tell those D.C. politicians, and coal lobbyists who support them, that coal strip mining will not help the small town people of Alaska.
Lawrence and Judy Heilman
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