Citizen turnout good, elected officials missing at meeting

Posted: Monday, October 10, 2005

It was uplifting to witness the intelligence and profound concern of Homer area residents as they asked penetrating questions and exposed major problems about the proposed Pebble Mine during the Sept. 29 public presentation at the Islands and Ocean auditorium.

The representative from Northern Dynasty, the Canadian promoter of the mine, bobbed and weaved in response to dozens of questions she could not or would not answer regarding the economic, social and environmental costs of their plan for a monstrous 14-square-mile, open-pit mine and tailings pond they hope to carve out of the heart of the Bristol Bay watershed.

While more than 120 local citizens educated themselves and others concerning the dangers and unanswered questions about the mine development promoted by Outside interests, only one of our local officials, Rep. Paul Seaton, showed enough interest to attend and participate.

Where were the mayor and city council, other elected representatives and candidates for office, and the staff from various departments that will have to evaluate the challenges and dangers to our community if this project reaches fruition? Are they not elected or appointed to serve as enlightened guardians of the public interest?

How can they possibly fulfill their obligations to those who put them in these positions if they cannot bother to attend an important local meeting to hear the questions and concerns of their constituents about a project that could have the greatest negative impact of any development ever proposed for Alaska and our local area?

Marga Raskin, Homer

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