Neither Alaska nor British Columbia succeed by harming the other’s environment or economy.
Given that, it’s imperative that the state and the province work cooperatively — not only when it comes to proposed mining, but other industry, including fishing, timber, tourism, you name it.
We can do better together than separately.
And our current elected leaders see it that way, too. Evidence is in Gov. Bill Walker and Premier Christy Clark’s signing of an agreement of cooperation on issues of shared interest, i.e., development of mines in the province.
The mines have the potential to affect water quality near and far, easily as far as Southeast Alaska.
The water quality affects all of our industries, not just fisheries.
Tourists expect to see clean water; that industry depends upon it. Contaminated water doesn’t enhance scenic beauty. The timber industry relies on it, as well, because it gets criticized for harming the environment whether it’s responsible or not. It might not contribute to a damaged environment during a mining operation, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that it would experience backlash for whatever happens to the environment.
The Alaska and B.C. agreement calls for a joint water-quality program and sharing information pertaining to mining projects.
The mines are in an early stage of development, allowing for the governments to gather information on current water conditions and to monitor it through subsequent stages. This will permit necessary adjustments.
The agreement also serves as a starting point. With that, the governments can increase its specificity as the projects progress.
It’s also the start of a successful partnership because it is Alaskans and residents of B.C. who are most affected by the projects. This is government working locally to manage the projects and economy in which they are most familiar and dependent. This is where choices made affect day-to-day lives. This is where harms will be keenly experienced and successes most happily celebrated.
Alaska and B.C., as neighbors, we rise and fall together. With this agreement, the chances of the former prevail.
— Ketchikan Daily News,