**Vote in Alaska Puts Question: Gold or Fish? **
DILLINGHAM, Alaska — Just up the fish-rich rivers that surround this tiny bush town on Bristol Bay is a discovery of copper and gold so vast and valuable that no one seems able to measure it all. Then again, no one really knows the value of the rivers, either. They are the priceless headwaters of one of the world’s last great runs of Pacific salmon.
“Perhaps it was God who put these two great resources right next to each other,” said John T. Shively, the chief executive of a foreign consortium that wants to mine the copper and gold deposit. “Just to see what people would do with them.”
What people are doing is fighting as Alaskans hardly have before. While experts say the mine could yield more than $300 billion in metals and hundreds of jobs for struggling rural Alaska, unearthing the metals could mean releasing chemicals that are toxic to the salmon that are central to a fishing industry worth at least $300 million each year. And while the metals are a finite discovery, the fish have replenished themselves for millenniums.
“If they have one spill up there, what’s going to happen?” said Steve Shade, 50, an Alaska Native who has fished on Bristol Bay all his life, for dinner and for a living. “This is our livelihood. They’re going to ruin it for everybody.”
Very interesting read. The link takes you to a 2 page long story in the NY Times.
Responsible stewardship of the land is really the crux of the situation. Can a gold mine, and a copper mine, coexist with the delicate environment needed by the salmon? Are the two industries diametric opposites?
Will the arguments against the mining operation focus on PAST techniques of mining that were toxic or is there room for new, modern techniques that will preserve the environment around the mine?
With the technologies today, there can be enough safeguards put in to protest the fish.
That’s the longest thread title I’ve ever seen.
Not sure where the link came from, but it didn’t work for me. Here’s another:
“Down with fish! Stay away from our mines!”
There’s an interesting television program, “Tougher in Alaska” and it demonstrates the vastness of Alaska and the small size of the population. It also demonstrates the ruggedness of the terrain and how difficult it is to get around.
Alaska is HUGE in size. You can dig to your heart’s content and the place is so large that no one would ever know.
The weather is the most hostile on the continent.
The other thing is that the technology has changed over the years. So that it is no longer necessary to despoil everything when extracting minerals.
Just to put things into perspective, something that folks who live in the lower 48 cannot comprehend, take a look at the ANWR drilling area … it’s a wasteland, infested with mosquitos. And yet some folks insist that the area reserved for drilling is a pristine wilderness.
Take a look at the photos and you will see that calling the area pristine is a gross mis-statement:
Contamination spills are not 100% avoidable. One spill can destroy much for many years.
We need fish more than gold.
Go for the gold!
Once you’ve gotten enough gold, buy more fish.
You’d be amazed what several tens of billions will buy.
(( I’m being only VERY slightly sarcastic. ))
Keep in mind that the local folks are some of the larger users of fuel oil, diesel fuel and gasoline. They heat their homes with it, and they generate electricity with it. And they power their ski-mobiles with it. They depend on prompt deliveries by barge in the summer and by tanker truck on ice roads in the winter.
And they get lost out there just as often as folks from the south 48 and need to be rescued by airplanes, helicopters, and rescue teams using satellite-based GPS.
Alaska has natural resources such as oil, natural gas, and coal and copper and gold and they need to use them as much as we do. In fact, the scarcity of refineries hurts them even more than it hurts us down here.
They pay a fortune for refined petroleum products.
The more they can develop and extract the natural resources, the easier it is for them to survive up there.
Fifty-below zero is just as hard on Alaska Natives as it is on anyone else.
They pay a fortune for refined petroleum products.
a gallon of regular in anchorage, the cheapest in the state, is $4.34 now. in july it got up to $4.46. keep in mind that it’s much more in the smaller towns.heating oil in the native communities is really expensive over the winter–typically in the $1,000s/month. so much so that gov. palin is giving out $1,200 energy checks to alaska resisdents.
there is much support for ballot measure 4 which would effectively stop the pebble mine. the anti-pebble mine agenda is well financed. i wouldn’t be surprised if foriegn powers are donating to this cause.
there are some exclusive fishing lodges near by the pebble mine that only rich people fly in to use.
the way i see it, the same agenda which wants to prevent the pebble mine also wants to stop offshore oil & gas exploration in alaska. namely, enviromentalists, marxists and dupes from the lower 48.
I vote goldfish.
Forgive me if I’m skeptical about that. Even if the mining could theoretically be done safely but in real life people don’t always follow procedures, companies cut costs, accidents happen. We have “safe” supertanker technology but then they put a drunk at the wheel of the Exxon Valdez.
Btw, I found some remarks of Pope Benedict’s on Catholic Culture that seem a propos:
The brutal consumption of creation begins where God is not, where matter is henceforth only material for us, where we ourselves are the ultimate demand, where the whole is merely our property and we consume it for ourselves alone…. And the wasting of creation begins when we no longer recognize any need superior to our own, but see only ourselves. It begins when there is no longer any concept of life beyond death, where in this life we must grab hold of everything and possess life as intensely as possible, where we must possess all that is possible to possess.
I am not familiar with all the ways the ecology can be protected in operations such as this. I do, however, recall an episode of “Ice Road Truckers” in which they even hauled the “gray water” away from a Canadian drilling site for disposal elsewhere, in order to protect the environment. “Gray water” is just the water from, e.g., showers and dishwashing. It’s not sewage. So, despite my lack of sophistication, amply evidenced by my watching “Ice Road Truckers” at all, I do manage to pick up a bit of information here and there.
If the Canadians can tap into natural resources that carefully, I see no reason why we can’t.
On that basis, the only truly safe thing would be to hide under the bed, but then you’d risk the house catching on fire or someone breaking in or failing to pay the rent or the taxes on the house and being evicted. Or not having food to eat. Etc.
The point is that what seems to be safe (the so-called “do nothing” alternative) is not so safe after all. Every action or non-action has risks to it. It’s important when doing an evaluation to make sure that ALL the risks are properly accounted for.
That may seem a bit formalistic, but it’s a fact of life.
Or, we can trust the government to take care of us … but the folks in the government are just people who mostly just follow procedures that are essentially incomplete.
Just take a look at the reconstruction of the World Trade Center in New York. After all these years, there isn’t much to show for all the time and treasure that has been expended. The multiple government agencies are tripping all over one another and when confronted just have another meeting.
If you visit, you will find that the one privately owned building in the complex, 7 World Trade, was rebuilt with a totally new design, and is nearing full occupancy.
At the same time, all around the WTC complex, there are high rise buildings under construction on virtually every block.
Doing nothing or letting the government do it … pretty much just results in stagnation.
By the way, you really need to consider that the private sector does make progress … the Exxon Valdez incident happened 20 years ago. 1989. A lot of progress has been made since that time.
Nothing is perfect, but we do learn from our mistakes.
You do need to compare apples with apples. Can’t judge something that will be done in the 2010 time frame with something that happened in the 1980’s.
you, can’t eat Gold
Gold as a medium of exchange is easy to transport and represents significant economic buying power. It is also useful as an industrial commodity.
You can use it to buy a wide variety of foods. Not limited to buying fish dinners.
I am more interested in the copper which is used in various products like electronics. It is getting to a point where if you have copper around, you could be killed for it.
Yeah. kill salmon. no salmon. the fish that eat the salmon die. . the fish that eat the fish that eat the salmon die. then the birds that eat the fish that eat the fish that eat the fish that eat the salmon also die. then birds that eat the bird that eat the bird that eat the fish that eat the fish that eat eat the fish that eat the salmon also die. The the mice take over and eat our wheat. then we’re stuck gnawing on gold in our fancy golden house’s till we die.
This is a very biased article. My brother lives in Anchorage and has been following this story for years. The only people opposed to the mine are environmental activists from the lower 48. They falsely claim that the mine will pollute the rivers there.
There have been numerous cases where environmental activists intentionally damaged facilities and created leaks and environmental damage for the purpose of trying to get industries in Alaska shut down. In fact, it was an environmtal activist who shot holes in the Alaska oil pipeline a few years ago to try to get it permanently shut down.
In fact, the mine is overwhelmingly supported by the Native Americans there as it will be a financial boon to them. The company that is developing the mine wants an educated work force. So what they are doing is hiring people then sending them to college or trade school either in Alaska or the lower 48. And when I say send, the company is paying for their education and living expenses while they are in college or trade school. These people then agree to work for the company for at least the same number of years they were in school. Thus those who got a 2 year trade school degree would work for two years, and a person who got a 4 year degree would work for four. And the wages they earn while fulfilling their employment contract are more then generous.
The potential for environmental harm is very small and easily managed.
The best way to stop environmental harm is to prevent members of Greenpeace, The Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund and the ACLU from entering Alaska to begin with.
But people don’t use it to buy food. All of the survivalists talk about buying gold so one can buy food when the dollar becomes worthless; but how do you get a sandwich or some meat with a Krugerrand? More than thirty years ago a friend of mine worked for a jeweler who would periodically buy gold as he actually designed and made a lot of custom pieces. At some point in time on one of his gold buying trips to Las Vegas, he noticed that a lot of the gold for sale was sheet gold. These were thin sheets one could cut with scissors. What he found out was that because of the collapse of South Vietnam, people who escaped brought their gold which had been in sheet form for convenient use after the South Vietnamese currency became worthless. Evidently many everyday transactions were conducted using sheet gold that could easily be snipped off in an appropriate small amount.
Clearly all of these people selling bullion or gold coins are not serious about using it to replace currency. When they start selling the sheet gold then we’ll know there is a serious loss of confidence in the dollar, but not until then.
If some of the profits from the mines goes into that fund that gives every Alaskan a check every year, they will be for the mines. If not, they will be against the mines. They would be against drilling in ANWR if they didn’t get money from it. Sadly greed rules.
- kathie :bowdown:
Go for it! They can do both safely. Keep in mind, about 50 oil rigs in the gulf are STILL missing from Katrina! They don’t know where they ended up! And not a drop of oil was spilled. They can now do this stuff without ruining the ecology. They couldn’t use to, but they can now.