Chuitna cannot be restored once it has been mined

March 24, 2012 

Miner fined $5,000 for diverting a stream. If you have a permit, I guess it is OK to damage salmon streams! Parnell/DNR are reviewing permits by PacRim Coal to do just that. PacRim proposes to dig up 11 miles of Chuitna tributaries. They say they will fill in the strip pit and reclaim the river after 25 years.

Three experts testified at a judiciary hearing in Juneau that restoration back to pre-mining conditions is impossible. Testimony included 38,000 documented cases, none even close to the magnitude of the proposed Chuitna coal strip mine, and found that "failure was inevitable" at Chuitna.

They also made it very clear that "reclamation" is not "restoration." "Reclamation" is filling in the hole and running water through a ditch or even choosing another use, such a storage yard, parking lot, whatever, whereas "restoration" is restoring the river back to its pre-mining state as a live, nurturing salmon spawning and rearing stream. Big difference!

Don't mine through salmon streams, not now, not ever.

-- Bobbi Burnett


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