[Alaska] Polls show concern over transboundary mining, desire for action – by (Juneau Empire – October 9, 2015)


Salmon Beyond Borders and SkeenaWild, groups from Alaska and British Columbia that have opposed mining in BC and Alaska’s transboundary river watersheds, recently received the results of two polls they say show a clear desire for action on both sides of the border.

The two polls, one in Alaska and one in B.C., were commissioned by the groups and conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. Some highlights from a press release include:

• Nearly three-quarters of Alaska respondents expressed concern about a mining waste spill in B.C. affecting shared watersheds that drain into Alaska, with the number jumping to 86 percent for Southeast Alaska respondents.

• Seventy-six percent of Alaska respondents want Alaska to have a seat at an international table to address concerns about upstream B.C. mining in shared transboundary watersheds. Forty-five percent said their vote for a member of Congress hinges on elected officials pushing for this seat at the table.

• Sixty-five percent of British Columbians polled were less likely to support mines in northwest B.C. that could affect the integrity of Alaska’s water quality.

• Alaska (72-90 percent) and B.C. (85-95 percent) respondents emphatically endorsed several specific reforms, including a mandatory, industry-paid clean-up fund, mining no-go zones in sensitive areas such as key salmon watersheds, and the assurance that mines have full funding and plans for clean-up, closure and long-term tailings maintenance and water treatment prior to getting operating approval. The measures had strong support among Republicans, Democrats and Independents, the release said.

These results are a clear call to action for Alaska’s leaders, the group spokespeople said.

“I urge leaders in Alaska and Washington, D.C. to take note that three-quarters of Alaskans polled want an equal seat at the table with B.C to ensure our concerns about upstream B.C. mining are addressed in shared Alaska/B.C. transboundary watersheds. The involvement of the International Joint Commission, established under the Boundary Waters Treaty, is the obvious choice to provide this table that will assist in developing permanent protections for water quality and fisheries in this region,” said fisherman and Salmon Beyond Borders spokeswoman Heather Hardcastle.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://juneauempire.com/outdoors/2015-10-09/polls-show-concern-over-transboundary-mining-desire-action