Native Americans, fishermen, and environmental groups in Southeast Alaska continue to criticize British Columbia mining projects, decrying the potential to destroy downstream fisheries. At least five of these mineral holds are located in “transboundary” watersheds of key salmon rivers—the Taku, Stikine, and Unuk—that originate in BC and flow into AK.
Recently, the province invited the State of Alaska to the table, encouraging its involvement in the permitting and oversight process. Alaska’s Lt. Governor Byron Mallott is now in talks with the BC Minister of Energy and Mines.
“From Alaska’s public policy and sovereignty perspective, it’s about what the water quality is that reaches our shores,” says Mallott.
Jill Weitz of Salmon Beyond Borders is encouraged by the open communications. “They were interested in hearing what we’ve done as a campaign in bringing together different sectors of Southeast Alaska,” she says, “and really wanting to engage with us and understand what we see as a solution.”
Existing and proposed mines in these watersheds are likely to produce acid mine drainage and toxic heavy metals. These large-scale projects offer few, if any, economic benefits to downstream communities.
Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.