AP Photo/Al Grillo
We've been covering the struggle in Alaska's Bristol Bay between salmon fishers and mining interests for a while. The story took an interesting turn when Alaska Governor, and Vice-Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin offered her personal thoughts on the proposed Clean Water Initiative (Ballot Measure 4) that would restrict pollutants that new mines would be able to release into the state's waterways.
Writing in Gourmet, Barry Eastabrook sums up the problem with Palin's statement,
The law in Alaska forbids a governor from officially lobbying for or against a ballot initiative such as Ballot Measure 4. To get around the law, Palin exercised what she called "personal privilege" when she said to reporters, "Let me take my governor's hat off for just a minute here and tell you, personally, Prop 4—I vote no on that."
See for yourself after the jump.
Shortly after Palin made these comments Alaskans voted against the initiative which opened the door for the unhindered development of Pebble Mine which will sit directly upstream from Bristol Bay. Palin's record on the environment speaks for itself, but even from an economic perspective the governor's support for mining over fishing is questionable. Eastabrook continues,
Do the calculations yourself. On one hand, you have an industry (mining) that employs 5,500 people in your state and generates $200 million in tax revenues. It is based on a finite resource that will run out one day. On the other hand, you have an industry (salmon fishing in Bristol Bay alone) that employs 12,000 people and contributes $250 million to the economy. This industry is based on a sustainably managed renewable resource that will be around long after the last ton of ore is dug out of Pebble Mine. Which would you favor?
Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon by Ben Knight via Rust Belt
Pacific wild salmon have enough to worry about - overfishing, run-ins with farmed salmon, not to mention hungry bears, wolves and seals - without being lobbied against by leaders who should be working to protect them.
Via:: Gourmet and tipster Colin O.
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