Most Alaskans understand that the Pebble Mine will never operate without having adverse impacts on everything living in that region. Not everyone understands, though, that the region is already being impacted.
Some of the greatest impacts have been social. Residents and tribal members have always traveled and visited each other throughout the region. Now when we visit a nearby village, one will say, “I stayed at so and so’s house, only so and so’s for Pebble Mine, so I don’t stay there anymore.”
This happens even if they have been friends for 30 years. So, they will now stay with someone else who opposes Pebble Mine. Every family and community is now divided. Friends, brothers and sisters. Aunts and uncles. Fathers, mothers, grandpas and grandmas. School kids and K-12. All are divided.
This adverse impact will last several lifetimes to heal, and for some it will never heal. This is unhealthy for tribal residents and it’s time for us to begin healing.
The land and water have also been adversely impacted.
Decades ago, Cominco drilled at Sharp Mountain and the tundra has yet to be reclaimed to this day. Where drill mud went onto the tundra, the tundra is still dead. Nothing is growing still. Frying Pan Lake drill sites have water coming from the steel pipes that rise vertically out of the ground. The water is spilling out, turning orange as it pools, then contaminating the watershed. I have also seen small lakes dry up from drilling. These are just the visible impacts. What else has already been impacted underground?
So I ask the question, not only to myself, but also to the leaders of this state and country.
To have successful completion in healing our families and our homes requires a full understanding of all dialogue that is being presented. A lot of this takes common sense. I don’t claim to be an individual that knows about mining totally inside and out. But I use a little bit of common sense and facts that are out there. And looking at other areas where this same kind of activity has happened. It’s unacceptable. The risks are there and imminent.
Rick Delkittie Sr.,