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Old 07-15-2009, 12:55 PM
Location: Alaska
5,352 posts, read 15,852,154 times
Reputation: 3995


Wow, I'm amazed at how many replies this got. Thank you everyone for your help and comments - those links (all of them) have kept me busy all yesterday and today.
And thanks for the input on what you think about different groups, their work and agendas. Forgot to mention that in the OP, but that is also what I need to know.
So... Please post what you think (or what the majority of the people thinks if there is a widely spread opinion) about anything relating to the groups and their work and what ever environmental and wildlife problems there might be in (especially) Alaska. Good or bad.

Among other things, on akck's link about SEACC I found something about Kensington mine wanting to dump toxic tailings (Kensington Mine — Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (http://www.seacc.org/issues/mining/kensington-mine - broken link) ; Tailings - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) in a lake in the Tongass National Forest.
My question (I guess) is why they chose a lake to dump it in - why not elsewhere? (On wikipedia there's a little note on "back in the days"- Australia and how dumping it on land caused problems as well, but still...)
Are there any laws about mines having to clean up the toxic waste, or can they just dump it as it is if they get a permit to do so? (Clumsy phrasing, but I hope you understand it)
First off, I'm not an expert, so this is just my take on the reasoning behind dumping the tailings in a lake.

Where did they use to put tailings from mine operations in the distant past? For the most part, it was dumped in the water. Juneau has several areas where the town is built upon mine tailings dumped in the channel. Fishing and other sea life inhabits the area so it is not the disaster some people would think of it today. Granted, I have no idea what the effect was when they were dumped, so it could have disastrous then, but nobody paid any attention.

If you assume the mine is going to start up, there are two options for disposing mine tailings. You either dump them in water or you build a mountain out of them. Both have environmental problems.

Dumping in a lake will pollute the lake. Eventually, it will reach a steady state where pollution levels will level off as the tailings become encapsulated by silt and other runoff debris. As long as the tailings are not disturbed, the water will become "clean."

Build a mountain out of the tailings will keep it out of the water. However, you'll have a man-made mountain that will be visible from the channel forever. Also, the pollutants will reach water eventually. With plenty of rain, there will be a constant problem with erosion which will leech out pollutants on a constant basis.

So what were looking at is the lesser of two evils. Dumping in the lake can be better controlled and monitored than constant erosion of a mountain. The reason why the environmental groups fought the lake dumping is because they just don't want the mine period. Had they won, they would fight the man made mountain just as hard. At least, that's my opinion.
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:33 PM
Location: Interior alaska
6,381 posts, read 11,943,039 times
Reputation: 3470
Lake Erie was considered to be a highly toxic lake from all the chemicals dumped into it over the years, they now say it is "Clean".

When I was stationed there at the Ashtabula Life Boat Station in the seventies, the Army Corp of Engineers had a dredge come up the river and dredge it for the first time in years.

I had spent a day and a half waxing my dark green Chevy Impala with a really expensive car wax and the next day, after the dredge started to run down the river, it brought up all the old chemicals that were there. It made our eyes burn and all the cars has spots on them, mine had lime green where the stuff had rained down and burnt the paint.

The reason the Lake was/is considered "Clean" is because over the years the silt that settled over it sealed it from the lake. Still there, just buried deep enough to not bother the lake anymore. First fish I saw swim by the station though did have two heads....

Having said that, there is more than one way to make products and not just dump the excesses into the environment as was done in the past.

You look at the oil industry in Oklahoma and Texas in the 1920's and 30's and you would see a terrible toxic waste dump around each and every well.

You come to Prudhoe Bay, and you have no oil or waste by products anywhere to be seen. Animals are nesting and calving right next to the drilling pads as they have done for centuries.

Mining today is much different than it was done 100 years ago too. But those that don't want development, will claim that it is just as bad now as then to get people that don't know anything about it to support them and to stop any mining.

Funny, when the first Oil from the Alaska Trans Alaskan Oil Pipeline made it to Cherry Point Washington arrived in 1977. There was a flotilla of "GAS" powered boats waving banners "We don't need your oil"... Had the idiots been rowing boats instead, it may have made a better point.

These clowns that don't want mining, also drive cars, ride bikes, walk on concrete sidewalks and the like that were all products of mining. They just don't get it... Without mining, we would all be wearing furs...
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Old 07-15-2009, 05:33 PM
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
6,906 posts, read 11,692,577 times
Reputation: 5572
If our nation shuts down every type of development that might be hazardous to the environment then what will we do for jobs? Once those jobs are gone and the domino's start to fall who will buy the Starbucks Coffee or the Ford Mustangs??

Our country has been trying to eliminate or send overseas all it's manufacturing jobs. I've said this once and I'll say it again: An economy based solely on consumerism will soon consume itself.....
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Old 07-15-2009, 05:34 PM
Location: Alaska
5,352 posts, read 15,852,154 times
Reputation: 3995
Originally Posted by starlite9 View Post
Without mining, we would all be wearing furs...
And PETA wouldn't even want you to be doing that. I wonder how warm you can stay in that hemp clothes.
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Old 07-16-2009, 05:58 AM
Location: The Woods
16,455 posts, read 21,469,319 times
Reputation: 8410
I wouldn't mind if everyone wore fur, would help the fur market a bit.
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