Monday, August 25, 2008

Mining Industry Needs Lots of Cash to Buy Your Vote

This is the home stretch, the 4th quarter, the championship round, and the well monied mining interests are pulling out all the stops. Don't lem them buy your vote!

The mining industry is throwing some serious cash at Ballot Measure 4 - trying desperately to secure its defeat. reports that,

On the other side, it’s clear where the money is coming from — the mining industry.

On Tuesday, the Council of Alaska Producers, the group that includes the major mining companies operating in Alaska, gave $300,000 to Alaskans Against the Mining Shutdown. The mining companies followed that up Wednesday by transferring $350,000.

Alaskans Against the Mining Shutdown is almost entirely funded by major mining companies, with the Pebble Partnership leading the way.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What Say Your Governor Palin?

I caught an interesting piece yesterday on entitled, “Ed Fogels and the DNR in the Mining Industry’s Pocket,” in which MineWatch pulled back the curtain on the pro Pebble bias which is apparently running rampant throughout the Alaskan Department of Natural Resources – a state governmental agency which, by rights, should at least be making an attempt an objectivity given the current circumstances. Read the MineWatch piece and visit the agency’s website to see how transparent these DNR phonies are. After reading the blog, I got to wondering about the improper ties which exist between not only the Department of Natural resources and mining industry, but throughout Alaskan Government.

In steps our Governor, Sarah Palin, the woman who recently had an investigation opened against her to evaluate ethics violations. It’s not lost on me (nor should it be lost on any other Alaskan) that the Department of Natural Resources is part of the Executive branch – controlled by the Palin administration. So, in essence, the Governor’s office is helping to push out this pro Pebble tripe. Could it be that the DNR and the peons who run it are just marionettes being manipulated by a much larger puppeteer? What say you Puppet Master Palin? What does your administration make of this situation?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Anglo Pollutes the Waters of Ghana

The recently published report, “Anglo American: Rhetoric or Reality” the author, Phil Mattera, details the dirty deeds of Anglo American in Ghana and pollution of local water sources. According to Mattera,

A mine in Ghana operated by AngloGold Ashanti – an Anglo American subsidiary until 2006 and an associated company for a year after that – has repeatedly spilled waste water and tailings into neighboring communities in recent years. Scientists have found that streams in the vicinity of the mine are significantly polluted be metals.

“You wake up one day and you realize your farm is destroyed,” said Assemblyman Benjamin Anna, a local politician. “They say they will compensate but it takes one or two years. So people are complled to go to illegal mining. The way our
ancestors did.”

Anglo company reports also apparently chronicle many other spills between 2004-2006 during which mine waste water and other tailings were spilled, thus affecting homes and communities along Ghana’s Nyam River. Next on Anglo’s hit parade…the Pebble Mine. Alaskans beware.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Blog Post

Today on the Alaskan Political blog, the author has penned a great article dealing with Pebble and Ballot Measure #4. He writes,

The fates have delivered me the opportunity to actually utilize my semester’s worth of time, and calculator batteries, to vote a confident YES on Proposition 4.

If you need any further convincing:

The proposed Pebble Mine site is located at the headwaters that flow into the Nushagak River, Lake Iliamna, and Bristol Bay (home of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery). You don’t need to be an expert to understand that contaminants, like the water they are in, tend to flow downstream. Oh, yes…and the mine’s giant earthen dam holding all those contaminants in, is also located on a fault line.

According to the EPA, mining has contaminated the headwaters of 40% of watersheds in the Western United States. FORTY percent. Are you willing to risk the Nushagak River, Lake Iliamna and Bristol Bay on those odds? Not me.

What about other similar hard rock mines? Well, a recent study of 25 modern hard rock mines showed that 76% exceeded water quality standards. SEVENTY SIX PERCENT. This is not a pretty picture.

To read the full article CLICK HERE.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Bird's Eye View of the Pebble Mine Site

Pebble Mine Plan Superimposed on Anchorage, Alaska

Pebble Mine Plan (in black) Compared With Other Gold Mines

The fascinating website has some wonderful satellite images of the proposed Pebble Mine site. Just looking at them gives you a true appreciation of the impact this mine will make on our region. I've included some of the images above on this post, but if you care to see them all CLICK HERE.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Both Sides Pour Resources into the Pebble Fight

There are two sides in the fight over the proposed Pebble Mine – the mining industry and its various foes. Both factions realize the stakes involved so, not surprisingly, vast amounts of money are being poured into the rival campaigns. How much money you ask? It is estimated that both sides have spent a combined total of $3.6 million; a hefty sum to spend in Alaska. Statistics show that this figure is more than groups raised for all four statewide ballot measures in 2006 (year that saw substantial fights over natural gas and cruise ship taxation) and more than was spent by all the candidates in the hard fought Republican primary of that year.

This costly political battle is resulting in Alaskans being inundated by TV, print and radio ads. Movies have even been produced on the subject (I'm a fan of Red Gold). Voters have recently started receiving large brochures in the mail asking them to fill out mining surveys, and absentee ballots so they might vote early.

The pro Pebble pockets are deep ones, continually filled by the large mining corporations and the board members of the nefarious Pebble Partnership who have the most to lose should Ballot Measure #4 pass. Another big pro Pebble interest is Alaskans Against Mining Shut Down (another mine industry shill group).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Does He Feel the Same Way About Salmon?

Yesterday I posted a story about the Pebble Partnership and how it bought off Ken Taylor, a deputy commissioner for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, with a cushy vice presidential gig at the partnership. It turns out that Mr. Taylor has never been particularly 'keen' on protecting the environment - which makes him an odd choice to work at the fish & game department, but I digress.

Here's an article about his involvement with the polar bear debate during his time as a state official published in January of this year in the Anchorage Daily News,

But Taylor, the Palin administration's point man on polar bears, argues that the scientific justification simply isn't there -- at least not yet -- to declare the polar bear "threatened" and touch off a cascade of effects under the Endangered Species Act. A decision on the bears is expected from the U.S. Department of the Interior in the next few weeks.

"From my perspective, it's very difficult to put a population on the list that's healthy, based on a projection 45 years into the future," Taylor says. "That's really stretching scientific credibility."

If he doesn't want to look out for polar bears, can we expect him to give flying fig about salmon?