A recent CVN states that Ms. Cornejo of Constantine Mining denied Takshanuk Watershed Council’s request to observe a tracer dye study of groundwater at the proposed Palmer mine site. This study aims to determine whether or not water that contains mine waste will flow into salmon streams. Why won’t Constantine allow a reputable local organization to observe their work, or to even see the study plan? If the dye is detected in downstream waters, then Constantine may be required to do an environmental analysis of their waste treatment plans and perhaps build a larger and more expensive system. If no dye is detected, then they can begin constructing a mine with far fewer environmental safeguards. The waste management system currently proposed by Constantine would “treat” hundreds of gallons per minute of mine waste by releasing that contaminated water directly into the ground, just a few feet from Hangover Creek. DEC at first approved this proposal and issued a permit, but then had to withdraw that permit after a number of local individuals and organizations pointed to its undeniable flaws. It is clear that DEC’s policies are not adequate to protect us, our fish and wildlife, and future generations from mine pollution and environmental harm. For those who insist that a mine is not a threat to our existing subsistence, cultural, and economic future, please prove it by demanding that DEC require rigorous, transparent, science-based permitting.

Kip Kermoian