Target: Dennis McLerran, EPA Region 10 Administrator
Goal: Do not allow coal mining project to destroy vital wild salmon habitat.
Wild salmon populations, and the communities that rely on them, are at risk due to a proposed strip mining operation. The quiet Alaskan communities of Tyonek and Beluga have fished in the Chuitna River for generations. Despite this, Delaware-based PacRim Coal is seeking approval to tear up miles of a salmon spawning tributary to the river to tap coal reserves.
Around the tributary, PacRim’s project would destroy at least 15 square miles of wetland habitat that supports moose calving grounds as well. If approved, the company would likely attempt to expand the area in the future, since coal deposits supposedly extend beyond this section. To add insult to injury, it’s estimated that the project will produce 991 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the course of its coal extraction.
Coal is the energy of the past. In recent years, reports have shown solar and wind energy climbing far ahead of dirty coal in cost-effectiveness, and U.S. demand for coal is dropping significantly in response. Consequently, the coal extracted from this destructive mining project will not even be used domestically. The piles of coal would be stored in the area only to be shipped to Asian markets, resulting in dust from the sitting piles drifting into neighboring forests. Precious American ecosystems and renewable resources will likely be irreversibly damaged, all for the sake of short-lived financial gain through exportation.
The people living near the Chuitna River will see none of the benefits of PacRim’s mine. What they will see are plummeting salmon populations, struggling fishing markets, and environmental degradation. We must stop allowing companies to jeopardize the future of both wildlife and people for personal gain. Tell the EPA not to allow PacRim’s selfish, destructive plans to come to fruition.
Dear Administrator McLerran,
I’m sure you are aware of the proposed strip mining project near the Chuitna River, as its proponents have been pushing for clearance for years now. The company responsible, PacRim, would have the populace believe their project won’t interfere with local resources. However, this is simply not true. It is vitally important PacRim is denied authorization to develop a mining operation in this area.
The company’s plan would result in the destruction of at least 15 square miles of vital wetland habitat. This habitat provides spawning tributaries for salmon, calving grounds for moose, and untold other ecological services. The neighboring communities of Tyonek and Beluga have relied heavily on the local salmon fishery for generations. Alaskans have a right to the renewable resources of the area and to maintain their way of life. To allow private companies to jeopardize this right for profit is just wrong.
More disturbing still is the fact that coal extracted from the site will not even be used to meet domestic needs. Demand for coal in the U.S. has dwindled in response to the increased cost-effectiveness and demand for renewable energy. The coal would be shipped to feed an insatiable demand in Asian markets. This truly is a money-making scheme that will benefit no one but the company responsible. Please make the right decision for wildlife and communities and do not allow coal mining in the Chuitna River area.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Bureau of Land Management