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Letters to the Editor

Readers write: Letters to the editor, March 26, 2015

  • Author: Alaska News
  • Updated: July 8, 2016
  • Published March 25, 2015

Red Dog Mine exec points out errors in ‘The United States of subsidies’

I would like to take the opportunity to correct several major inaccuracies regarding Teck and the Red Dog Mine in Monday's article from The Washington Post, "The United States of subsidies."

The article repeats flawed data provided by the organization Good Jobs First, which claimed that Teck had received $597 million in state government subsidies in Alaska. Good Jobs First has acknowledged this is not accurate, and it is being corrected on their website.

That figure was a misstatement of a $267 million investment made by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority in the 1990s to build the state-owned DeLong Mountain Transportation System (DMTS), which consists of a haul road and port facilities used to transport zinc and lead mineral concentrates from the Red Dog Mine to overseas customers.

More importantly, that investment was clearly not a subsidy. Red Dog pays a toll for use of those facilities and to date has paid about $450 million — far more than the original cost of the project — making it a source of ongoing revenue for Alaska.

In addition, the mine has supported close to 600 well-paying jobs in Northwest Alaska for more than 25 years, paid close to $1 billion in royalties to the Inupiat-owned NANA Regional Corp. — of which more than $617 million has been shared with other Alaska Native regional corporations through the 7(i) provision of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) — and injected $1.5 billion into the Alaskan economy.

The fact is, government's building of the DMTS was not a subsidy — it was a smart investment that continues to reap enormous benefits for Alaskans.

— Henri Letient

General manager, Red Dog Mine

Havelock oversimplifies Clinton stance

Re: John Havelock, comment. John, John, there he goes again, representing himself as an officer of the court, top security, inferred superior objectivity, etc., then falling into partisan defense of Hillary Rodham Clinton. It is oversimplified to rationalize "one of security, and another of failure to USE dual system." Then rationalizing (excusing) because others did it, with some side remark about "Benghazi politics."

The track record of obfuscation, delay, deny, simple disguised arrogance is unfortunate but present. The final page written about Benghazi will be interesting and enlightening.

— Don Keil

Anchorage

Free travel gift reeks of impropriety

Alaska environmental conservation Commissioner Larry Hartig's response to accepting a free travel gift to attend Teck's 25-year anniversary of the Red Dog Mine was really quite pathetic.

Saying "I would be pretty isolated if I didn't attend any kind of event" (ADN, Friday) is very poor attempt to cover up a poor decision. With social media and other forms of technology there are countless ways to stay in touch without accepting free travel to a celebratory event from a company you're in charge of regulating.

Accepting this gift reeks of impropriety and gives the impression of Hartig being just another good ol' boy in the back pocket of the industry.

— Mark Miner

Anchorage

Home builders group stuck in the '50s

The front page advertisement for the Anchorage Home Builders Association Home Show made me groan. A free pink tool kit? A graphic of a provocatively posed, buxom female figure wearing a tool belt and wielding a framing hammer? This is "empowerment" in 2015? Isn't it time the AHBA left the attitudes of the 1950s behind and belatedly crawled into the 21st century?

I suggest women offered the sissy tool kit smile sweetly and say, "No, thank you. All my tools are Craftsman."

— Jan Sosnowski

Eagle River

Coal mine would keep pollution here

I've lived in Alaska for 21 years. This is my home. Part of loving this state is loving our fish, specifically salmon. Salmon have sustained life in Alaska as far back as can be documented. PacRim's proposal to rip away these resources is devastating and shameful.

Salmon are the pulse of this state. The proposed coal strip mine through Middle Creek, a tributary of the Chuitna River, would export coal to Asia and send the pollution right back here. That is all we would get. You cannot measure the wealth Alaskans receive from a sustainable resource like a salmon stream. Especially one like Chuitna, which is home to all five species of Alaskan salmon as well as rainbow trout and Dolly Varden.

I support the Alaskan way of life, and PacRim's proposed coal mine doesn't in it. Please support Chuitna Citizens Coalition's instream flow application to keep water in Middle Creek by sending your comments to DNR (kimberly.sager@alaska.gov) and Gov. Bill Walker (bill.walker@alaska.gov) by April 9.

— Brice Breaux

Anchorage

Support bill for smoke-free workplaces

Having lost both of my parents to smoking-related cancers, and having a daughter with asthma, the issue of smoke-free indoor work places for all Alaskans is personal to me. Alaskans should be able to breathe smoke-free air in every indoor work place across the state.

Secondhand smoke exposure is a leading cause of preventable death, and causes disease in healthy nonsmokers; including heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and cancer. It has been determined by the U.S. surgeon general that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke; air ventilation systems do not work; and only completely smoke-free environments can protect health.

The law being considered by the Alaska State Legislature asks smokers and e-cigarette users not to stop smoking but to "take it outside." There are many unregulated and unknown chemicals in e-cigarettes, and the FDA has not approved them as a quit smoking device. I am hopeful state lawmakers will recognize this is a public health issue and give every Alaskan the opportunity to breathe smoke-free air at work. To borrow from the American Lung Association, "When you can't breathe, nothing else matters."

— Julie Hasquet

Leadership Council chair

American Lung Association in Alaska

Anchorage

The views expressed here are the writers' own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a letter for consideration, email letters@alaskadispatch.com, or click here to submit via any web browser. Submitting a letter to the editor constitutes granting permission for it to be edited for clarity, accuracy and brevity. Send longer works of opinion to commentary@alaskadispatch.com.

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