Lower branch of the Taku Glacier and Grizzly Bar, October 2018. (Gabe Donohoe | For the Juneau Empire File)

Lower branch of the Taku Glacier and Grizzly Bar, October 2018. (Gabe Donohoe | For the Juneau Empire File)

Opinion: Canada must clean up mine pollution

Protecting Alaska’s environment is a sober challenge.

Protecting Alaska’s environment is a sober challenge when erosion and contamination collide forces. There are no conflicts of interest when the power of nature issues its results. Many have eye witnessed such destructive forces that move with intensity without conscience.

Increasing evidence persuades that any solution realized to control the extreme wind, high tide surges, must alter the course of the erosion and inland seas by engaging the geography itself. Efforts to acquire a solution dictates that a permanent barrier system be implemented to control inland saltwater encroachment. Sand bags and current deflectors are pointless.

Landmass susceptible to excessive weather conditions drain inland forming seas that are fully capable of overwhelming toxic containment dams and waste systems. The mining industry produced vast amounts of mineral tailings from processed ore. The composite waste minerals contain lethal elements such as arsenic 33 and mercury 80, yet the combination of processed minerals also produce new alloys and uncharted particles not on the periodic table. These introduced heavily in parts per million, may alter the aquatic food chain for many square miles for years.

[Opinion: Clean up that damn mine]

Consider, the forces of nature that submerged a damaged nuclear energy plant thousands of miles away. The event affected fish only hundreds of miles from our coast. On U.S. soil, “Spent Fuel Rods” from reactors are stored at “30 inactive nuclear plants.” San Clemente’s 2013 reactor shutdown are cooling spent fuel rods in concrete steel-lined containers at “the edge of the Pacific Ocean.” Science and the probability of nature’s power seems of little concern to authorities with a limited perspective. Recent severe fires, earthquakes and extreme storms have no conscience.

This is why Alaska must resolve the massive (decades old) mine waste contamination sites only 40 miles from Juneau, up the Taku River. The notified Canadian authorities now carry the responsibility. Alaska’s response must now be capable of leveling a fine for noncompliance.

The only plausible avenue to make safe the mining sites is to encase the contaminated material; in a formula that breaks own the particles with an aggregate and calculated cement with a chemical solution bonding agent. The curing time is progressive, yet the set is waterproof and hard as granite within days, yet released from molds in hours. With the aid of sonic vibration and vacuum techniques air is removed for a consistency. Pours have strength and are submersible.

[Toxic water leaches into prime Alaska, Canada salmon habitat]

It would be prudent while mixing this formula to invest the pour into a needed object. A three-part formula poured into molds creatively designed as large, interlocking, stackable erosion barriers is needed. The size of the poor depends upon the equipment that will remove, transfer and install. Molds are duplicated to insure multiple pours on a continuum providing a stockpile of barriers.

The lifespan of the barriers is centuries. The barriers viewing face can be designed in any number of images, including trees. Support P.E.B. Alaska to equip this generation to serve the next.


• R.D. Robinson is a sculptor and designer. My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.


More in Home

Construction on Egan Drive on Tuesday evening leaves one lane open in each direction. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Fred Meyer intersection gets turn-lane safety upgrades; traffic signal planned by 2026

Project seeking to reduce frequency and severity of crashes includes lower seasonal speed limits

Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, D-Anchorage, speaks on the Senate floor on March 6. Gray-Jackson was the sponsor of a bill to make Juneteenth a state holiday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
On Juneteenth, Gov. Dunleavy weighs adding a new legal holiday for Alaska

If the governor signs recently passed bill, Juneteenth would be observed as a state holiday in 2025.

A view of Angoon from a floatplane on Friday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
Thayer Creek Hydro project fulfills ‘dream of the elders’

Angoon hydropower groundbreaking comes after four decades of effort, seeks to stabilize future costs

An empty classroom at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on July 20, 2022. (Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska faces consequences as federal education funding equity dispute continues

State officials offered feds a $300,000 compromise instead of $17 million adjustment.

A Juneau Police Department officer talks on a radio in a patrol car. Officials said JPD’s communications system, which had an end-of-life date in 2014, needs to be replaced to provide improvements such as full radio coverage within the city and borough limits. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)
Voters may be asked to OK $22.75M in bonds to upgrade emergency communications, wastewater treatment

Juneau Assembly will consider two proposed measures, take public comments, at July 1 meeting.

Observers from the U.S. Department of Justice examine the accessibility of a polling place in Juneau’s Mendenhall Valley during the Aug. 16, 2022, primary election. The Justice Department concluded that the state violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to properly accommodate voters with disabilities. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Disabled Alaskans encountered barriers in recent elections, Justice Department investigation finds

Alaska failed to accommodate people with disabilities who were trying to cast… Continue reading

Independent Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks during a campaign rally at Legends Event Center on Dec. 20, 2023, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)
Want to run for President in Alaska? You’ll need a few thousand friends.

On Friday, supporters of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. turned in more than… Continue reading

Customers gather in the seating area of an expanded food court area on Franklin Street on Friday. Reconstruction work that began last fall was recently completed for the facility scheduled to be open between May and September. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Franklin Street facelift: Sites of former Elks Lodge, Glory Hall debut new eateries, housing

Expanded food court opens at former lodge site; donut shop and low-cost apartments replace shelter.

Juneau’s PJ Foy, shown winning the 2023 100 yard butterfly in 48.27 for Thunder Mountain High School during the ASAA state championships at the Dimond Park Aquatics Center on Nov. 4, 2023, qualified for the 2024 June Olympic Team Trials by swimming a 100 long course meters butterfly in a personal best 53.44 on March 16, 2024, at the Speedo Sectionals in Federal Way, Washington. (Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire file photo)
Alaskans secure spots at 2024 Olympics; Juneau swimmer PJ Foy will try for his spot on Friday

TMHS graduate seeking to qualify in 100-meter butterfly at U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Most Read