As I sat down to sketch out my ideas on a message from Deantha Crockett, I grabbed a piece of paper from the recycle bin. When I reached the bottom of the page, I flipped it over to continue writing, and nearly laughed at what I saw.
I'm writing my notes for this article on the back of a mailed letter from actor Robert Redford about how the Pebble Mine is going to single-handedly destroy this state and its fisheries. His friends at the Natural Resource Defense Council call Pebble "the worst project they've ever seen" and claim it will spew toxic chemicals from a large dam in an active earthquake zone.
I personally take offense to such accusations, and like most Alaskans, I just don't appreciate a celebrity that lives a privileged life far from our state telling us what we can or can't do on state-owned land. I also don't appreciate him contacting millions of American households with false information about the mining industry in Alaska. It's not just Pebble. I've seen letters he's written about oil drilling in ANWR, claiming every last polar bear in Alaska is dying off, and so on.
My job, one I don't have to act at, is to promote the mining industry in Alaska. I believe the best way to do this is to provide accurate information about what miners do here. We have much to be proud of.
As we like to say: Mining works for Alaska. We have seven large mines and hundreds of placer mines operating in Alaska. We have multiple exploration projects cropping up around the state and many more known prospects, attractive to investors around the world. All of these properties operate under strict federal and state laws that require the utmost care for the environment, wildlife and human health.
Many of these mines have received awards for reclamation of the land, creation of enhanced fish and wildlife habitat, unrivaled water treatment and more. Many of these practices were employed before it was required by law to do so. Mining technology has provided ways to operate more efficiently, and companies have proactively bettered their environmental standards, often without being told to. Mines have also implemented a mission to perform at the highest level of safety, instilled in every single employee.
Alaska miners, whether their projects are locally or globally owned, do it right. And why? Because unlike Robert Redford, our miners...