04 January 2007

A wee bit ridiculous

The move by Earthworks to begin a Pebble boycott strikes me as a bit premature:

Jewelers are being asked to boycott gold from a huge open pit mine proposed for Alaska that many Alaska Natives fear will ruin their way of life.

An ad campaign launched this week in National Jeweler, an industry news tabloid, is designed to educate jewelers about the Pebble Mine project in the Bristol Bay watershed, home to the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world.

For a mine that has not even entered the permitting process, that is facing distinct opposition from some powerful political forces, and doesn't even really have a well-defined mine plan, it strikes me as a little odd to skip over that process entirely (however flawed it may be) and conclude that any gold from Pebble (should, in fact, any be poured) would be worth boycotting. What if the permitting process produces a mine that protects Bristol Bay (perhaps not feasible but still...)? Or what if the process collapses and the mine goes nowhere.

Either way, it seems like 10 or 20 thousand dollars that could be better spent.

(I know I just wrote that dissidents should use whatever tools are at their disposal but they should at least do a little cost-benefit analysis first.)


Anonymous said...

Dude! Pebble's proponent, Northern Dynasty, has submitted more than 1,900 pages of mine plans and permit applications (as of September '06). We know far more about Pebble than we do about ANWR development or building a gas pipeline and EVERYBODY has their minds made up about those two, don't they? If you doubt, call the Alaska DNR and ask them for the permit apps and they'll send you two CDs for ten bucks.

Coldfoot said...

Bringing jobs to bush Alaska might destroy a way of life. That's bad?

Of course it is not PC to address such issues, but it might help curb alcoholism, unemployment and domestic violence.

Yeah. That's a way of life that needs protected.

Oh. Wait. The local and Seattle fisherman are against the mine, too?

Bet you can't find two fishermen who want more government regulations on their industry in order to protect the rural lifestyle in bush communities that still subsist on salmon runs.

I, for one, will be taking their sudden concern over a way of life with a ten pound grain of salt.

For sake of time I won't comment upon the benefit of having a more stable economic base than fishing and tourism for the area. Granted, minerals are volatile, but compared to fishing mining is a blue chip investment.

Ooops. I wasn't going to say that.