A documentary critical of the environmental practices of Hecla Greens Creek mine will debut online today.
“Irreparable Harm” claims that contamination from mining at Greens Creek has threatened the safety of wild foods in and around the Hawk Inlet area on Admiralty Island, important grounds for subsistence hunters from the village of Angoon 30 miles away.
Southeast Alaska Conservation Council produced the film with filmmakers from Wild Confluence Media and Votiv Earth. “Irreparable Harm” has been screened across Southeast Alaska and at film festivals around the country but today is its first wide public release. It’s available at video streaming service Vimeo and at seacc.org.
The film takes its name from the regulatory requirement that Greens Creek not cause irreparable harm to the Admiralty Island National Monument or its values. The 20-minute documentary makes the case that runoff from the mine has altered the chemical makeup of Hawk Inlet.
The film came under controversy after its release after the filmmakers received a cease-and-desist letter from a Chicago law firm on behalf of Hecla, according to media reports. The letter notes that the film uses footage from one of Hecla’s promotional videos posted to YouTube in 2016. The law firm asked that the filmmakers cease using the footage, but those demands were later dropped.