Alaskans For Clean Water


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Dr. Bruce Switzer's presentation at Anchorage Chamber's "Make it Monday" forum on 7/21/2008.

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Alaskans For Clean Water

  1. 1. BALLOT INITIATIVE #4 <ul><li>WHAT IT DOES </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Restores the protection of salmon spawning streams that Governor Murkowski eliminated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Balances the interests of commercial and sport fishing with mining </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sends a strong message to legislators and regulators that the largest salmon run in the world must be protected </li></ul></ul><ul><li>WHAT IT DOES NOT DO </li></ul><ul><ul><li>On July 3, 2008, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that Ballot #4 would neither shut down nor prevent mining in Alaska </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not shut down any existing mine or stop expansion. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not impact mines smaller than 640 acres </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not affect recreational or subsistence use of Alaska waters </li></ul></ul>
  2. 2. Ballot #4 Protects Salmon from Mine Waste <ul><li>Prevents new large-scale mines from discharging acid mine drainage and toxics such as lead, cyanide, mercury, and arsenic in amounts that adversely affect salmon </li></ul><ul><li>Like This </li></ul>
  3. 3. Bristol Bay is Unique <ul><li>Bristol Bay is the world’s single largest salmon fishery </li></ul><ul><li>The headwaters of the two river systems that flow into Bristol Bay will be destroyed or severely impacted </li></ul><ul><li>One of these, the Kvichak, generates the largest sockeye run in the world and provides 30% of the total Alaska sockeye catch </li></ul><ul><li>80% of wild salmon sold in North America last year came from Alaska - 30% from Bristol Bay </li></ul><ul><li>25 communities and 10,000 Bristol bay residents depend on the salmon economy </li></ul><ul><li>The Bristol Bay salmon economy supports 8600 full time equivalent jobs </li></ul>
  4. 4. The mine will destroy numerous streams and contaminate others that drain into the Kvichak and the Nushagak rivers, which flow into Bristol Bay.
  5. 5. The Pebble Mine is an Unacceptable Risk <ul><ul><ul><li>No large open pit mine has ever been built in an area as environmentally sensitive and economically important that is as hostile to mining </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Every large mine ever built in remotely similar hydrologic conditions has polluted surrounding water </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>USGS predicts a quake on the Lake Clark fault of a magnitude that sooner or later will result in dump and dam failure </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Even the best planned mines in benign environments have routine releases of toxic chemicals caused by ineffective management, changed circumstances and accidents </li></ul><ul><li>Construction and maintenance of a 100 mile long transportation corridor to a new port at Cook Inlet will cause inevitable sedimentation and kill salmon eggs in hundreds of streams </li></ul><ul><li>Chemical and fuel oil spills along the transportation corridor and in Cook Inlet also are inevitable </li></ul>
  6. 6. Who Benefits from Pebble? Anglo American <ul><li>A South African company that operates primarily in the third world </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They have never planned or built a mine in North America </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They have never planned, built or operated a mine in the far North and have no experience with the conditions present at the Pebble Mine site </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They have one of the worst safety, environmental, and human rights records of any company anywhere </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A mine they operated in Nevada from 1999 to 2003 was the biggest single source of mercury air pollution in the country </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Who Benefits from Pebble? Northern Dynasty <ul><ul><li>A shell company that is wholly owned by Hunter Dickinson of Vancouver, BC. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hunter Dickinson are stock promoters who have never planned, built, or operated a mine anywhere. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They admit the risks at Pebble are huge. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Northern Dynasty Knows That Pebble is a Huge Risk <ul><li>The Risks are Real </li></ul><ul><li>“ Unexpected environmental damage from spills, accidents and severe acts of nature such as earthquakes are risks which may not be fully insurable and if catastrophic could mean the total loss of shareholders’ equity.“ </li></ul><ul><li>Source ND 2004 Annual Report </li></ul><ul><li>How About Accountability? </li></ul><ul><li>“ As Canadian citizens and residents , certain of Northern Dynasty’s directors and officers may not subject themselves to U.S. legal proceedings, so that recovery on judgments issued by U.S. courts may be difficult or impossible.” </li></ul>
  9. 9. Cominco (now Teck Cominco) <ul><li>Teck Cominco has a century of experience operating mines in North America and more experience in northern mining than any company in the world </li></ul><ul><li>Cominco discovered the Pebble deposit and conducted extensive exploration programs and baseline hydrologic studies. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2002, Teck Cominco sold Pebble to Northern Dynasty for a mere $10 million, without retaining a position in it </li></ul><ul><li>Why did the most experienced northern miner in the world choose not to develop or retain an interest in what Northern Dynasty claims is the world’s largest and richest copper and gold deposit ? Northern Dynasty has explained that Teck Cominco sold Pebble for “environmental reasons.” </li></ul>
  10. 10. What About the Jobs? <ul><li>Hard Rock Mining Industry: Directly employs 1,516 workers according to a recent presentation made by the mining industry to the Alaska State Legislature. </li></ul><ul><li>The Pebble Mine: The developers claim they will employ 1,000 workers full time and 2,000 during construction. They are under no contractual obligation to hire Alaskans. </li></ul><ul><li>Bristol Bay Commercial Fishery: 8,600 (full time equivalent) people are directly employed in the Bristol Bay salmon economy. It generates $250-400 million/year. </li></ul><ul><li>Alaska Sport Fishing: Provides 8,000 jobs and generates $530 million/year. </li></ul><ul><li>Alaska Sport Hunting: The Safari Club International estimates that it generates 10,000 jobs and that hunters in Alaska spend $622 million/year. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Pebble Mine Will Not Generate Substantial Revenue for the State Relative to the Fishing Industries <ul><li>Mining is very important to Alaska. The mining industry, however, exaggerates its importance. It is not second to oil and gas — tourism and fishing are. </li></ul><ul><li>In the last 10 years, the Alaska gold mining industry has realized a profit of $1.2 billion—and paid only $120,000/year in state taxes because the tax rate for mining is less than 0.1% (source: DNR). Compare that to the Bristol Bay fishing industry that pays about $2.5 million in state taxes/year. </li></ul><ul><li>The mining industry has received far more in public subsidies than they will ever pay in income taxes or royalties. In addition to subsidies for power line construction, Pebble is requesting $150 million to build the road to Cook Inlet to ship the ore concentrate out of Alaska (source: DNR). </li></ul>
  12. 12. Why Ballot Measure #4 is Essential <ul><li>Ballot Measure #4 only prevents toxic discharge into salmon streams from new large-scale mines. It does not shut down mining or stop expansion of existing mines. Claims to the contrary are unadulterated mining industry propaganda. </li></ul><ul><li>All five operating Alaska hard rock mines were permitted when discharge of mine waste into salmon spawning streams was prohibited – the regulation that Governor Murkowski overturned. </li></ul><ul><li>Bristol Bay is too important to risk on a “lets see if it works” mine plan and permit process. </li></ul><ul><li>The Bristol Bay salmon economy and environment are too important to risk for the sole benefit of foreign companies. </li></ul><ul><li>The foreign Pebble developers admit the great risk—why let them take it? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Alaskans for Clean Water Supports Mining… but Not Pebble Mining is appropriate in many places. But in some places the damage outweighs the benefits. The headwaters of Bristol Bay is one of those places.