On March 24, I tuned into a Ports and Harbors Committee meeting, expecting an ordinary update on the Lutak Dock rebuild, according to the agenda. Instead, the committee chair turned the meeting over to a Yukon mining industry group that the Haines Chamber of Commerce had apparently invited to tell us what to do with Lutak Dock to serve their needs, without public notice. Who is running the show here?

Yukon mining interests are asking us to “embrace” a scheme that will turn Lutak Inlet and the Chilkat Valley into an industrial ore transport corridor. They didn’t stick around the meeting long enough to listen to public response. They left.

Do we want to trade our home for an industrial haul route? How will tens of thousands of ore trucks impact local traffic and our local tourism economy? Why would we invite toxic ore dust into our air and water?

Instead of asking critical questions, the Ports and Harbors Committee and the Chamber focused on how they might “frame” this proposal to avoid a “firestorm,” making sure to call this anything but an ore terminal. No matter what you call it, fugitive dust, heavy industrial traffic, and spill risks are part of the scenario.

Turning our home into an industrial transportation corridor for Canadian ore undermines the well-being of our community while enriching foreign corporations. This proposal is not a middle ground. It’s pandering to foreign mining interests.

Let’s tell the Yukon mining industry: No. We will not embrace you.

Shannon Donahue