Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Proposed Alaska Coal Mine Divides Community, Elicits Racism

Proposed Alaska Coal Mine Divides Community, Elicits Racism

The Wishbone Hills coal mine, a controversial project proposed by the Usibelli Mine Company five miles west of the small community of Sutton, Alaska, and Chickaloon Village of the Chickaloon Tribe, is driving a wedge between local community members.

At a contentious September 7 town hall meeting that overflowed the building’s capacity to discuss the Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ mining renewal permits for the project, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly favored positively. The borough’s petition cited the mine as a 'God given resource.' A Chickaloon Tribal resolution was against, said Ahtna Athabascan/Suqpiat and Chickaloon tribal member Shawna Larson, a spokesperson for Chickaloon Village Coal.

A news story September 8 in the Anchorage Daily News elicited a racist rant in the comments section that ran for at least one day before the newspaper pulled it.

This reminds me of the Brockton Power plant project - "Neighborhoods have sprung up since the original remote mine went into operation, and since the last small scale mining in the 1980s, and now lie within a half mile of the proposed project." Just because it made sense at one point, or was environmentally reasonable at one time, doesn't mean it is now.

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