Brad Schulze states that my letter in the CVN somehow “…pretends that the current push to reclassify the Chilkat River has nothing to do with the Palmer Project.” In fact, the Tier 3 proposal (which came from Chilkat Indian Village, not from me or Lynn Canal Conservation) seems appropriately focused on protecting the Chilkat and our economy (fishing, tourism) from the toxic mess so common to mining high-sulfide deposits.

Yes, Brad, I would prefer that such mining occurs elsewhere, a drier environment where the sulfuric acid from mine tailings will not leach toxic heavy metals into one of the greatest salmon rivers in Southeast Alaska. And require perpetual water treatment, such as at Green’s Creek.

Modern miners may be “…heavily scrutinized” but this has not prevented pollution from copper mines. Of 14 U.S. copper mines operating more than five years, all 14 had pipeline spills or other accidental releases, 13 had significant mine seepage, and several had tailings impoundment failures and spills. For example, 186,000 gallons of sulfuric acid and heavy metals were released into the San Francisco River at the Morenci Mine in Arizona in 2008.

Finally, Brad’s allegation regarding my “deep pockets full of outside money” and “death grip on this town” seems to better describe Constantine’s sugar daddy Dowa, the heir apparent to the Palmer Project. Dowa is foreign-based, worth about $50 billion, and has a dubious environmental history.

Eric Holle