I was happy to see that Coeur agreed to pay fines for the litany of violations from their environmental mismanagement at the Kensington mine. I had hoped for an apology from Coeur’s CEO combined with an action plan listing corrective actions they are planning to make to prevent further environmental damage. This could have made me feel more comfortable with the mining industry and the future of the Chilkat Valley. Instead, in response to EPA’s recent charges, Coeur’s CEO published a defensive and accusatory rebuttal in last week’s CVN.  Let’s keep this in perspective and look at the issue clearly—the EPA’s responsibility is to look out for the common good and protect the environment shared by us all. Regardless of their flowery PR campaigns, big corporations like Coeur’s main focus are to maximum profits for their shareholders. The developers of the Constantine mine would have the same priorities and likely the same outcomes: environmental damage and regulatory violations followed by defensive rhetoric and obfuscation. The long-term sustainable health of the Chilkat Valley (think subsistence and commercial fishing, clean drinking water, and healthy wildlife populations) is too important to trade for the risky, tenuous and short-term benefits touted by mining industry proponents.

Joe Ordonez