Mining company exploits community divisions
October 8, 2020
Haines has a history of polarization. It’s no surprise that when a foreign mining company comes to town, it exploits divisions within our community, infiltrates the cracks, and seizes control of our forums for discussion and decision-making. Remember when Takshanuk Watershed Council worked hard to create a Chilkat Valley Mining Forum that included broad points of view, to facilitate honest, constructive community discussion about an issue that affects us all? It wasn’t long before Constantine took that over, and now it’s a pep rally for the mining industry.
Constantine’s top representative here in town has worked against local efforts to protect our clean water and downstream communities by testifying against a borough ordinance aimed at protecting us from hazardous waste. Constantine has actively spread misinformation about water quality regulations. Their waste management permit application was so poorly written that even ADEC, an agency with a former mining executive at its helm, remanded it. That’s almost unheard of.
Constantine has wielded such control over our community discourse that this year, their top representative moderated a candidate forum for our borough elections that played out more like a propaganda event, complete with mini presentations about the company’s activities, and the alleged benefits of mining—conveniently ignoring negative impacts. I knew that the mining industry was in bed with our state government and congressional delegation. I didn’t realize their reach had infiltrated our local elections to this extent. Guess they think we’re a company town. It’s up to us to show them otherwise.