As Alaskans pay over $4/gallon at the pump, Exxon Mobil Corp. made record-breaking 3rd
quarter profits. With rising demand and an undersupplied energy market amplified by
Western sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, the planet-warming dirty money is
rolling in fast. If corporations really were people, this one and its cousins would be unwelcome at
the holiday dinner table.
Now, we are hearing from corporate mining enthusiasts that we must hurry up, find US-sourced
minerals, fast track permits, and avoid regulations to supply the “critical” minerals needed for the
new clean energy economy.
Let’s be real about what is critical. Clean water is critical. Healthy salmon populations are
critical. It’s critical that the decarbonized energy economy not repeat the mistakes and
injustices of the fossil fuel economy that it must replace.
This urgent rush for minerals with minimal oversight is a corporate bonanza with real risks to our
waters, salmon, and communities.
Obviously, our oil & gas corporations no longer need (they are making oodles of money) and should
not expect (they are causing a climate crisis) any subsidies or tax credits. We need to be investing
that money in the innovation of new technologies, creating a true electronic recycling economy,
and passing right-to-repair-and-reuse legislation.
Only after reducing overall demand for new minerals and increasing mineral recycling and
reuse, should we be looking to mine new landscapes. And new mining must only take place
if it meets high environmental, human rights and social standards.
It’s debatable whether Alaska develops our resources to a higher standard than anywhere else in
the world, and the bar should not be set by our neighbors or competitors. The bar for compatible
extraction is set by Alaskans and our expectations for our lands, waters, and communities. The rush
to mine in Alaska has unique challenges. It’s one of the few places left where healthy wild salmon
habitat and mining interests overlap.
Inletkeeper will continue to speak up when local communities are faced with the undue burden
of a large mining operation setting up shop in their watershed. From our years of fighting the
Pebble mine to our current efforts to support the communities on the west side of the Susitna and
the Kuskokwim rivers threatened by the Donlin gold mine, we know that clean water and healthy
ecosystems are priceless commodities that no one should be able to whisk away. Fast tracking
mining only suits corporations greedy for their next pot of gold…or lithium or cobalt or nickel.
As we look towards 2023 and a new Alaska legislative session, Inletkeeper will work with allies
across the state and in Juneau to set the bar where Alaskans want it for high environmental,
human rights and social standards. And to be sure, our critical clean water and healthy habitats
are not negotiable.
Thank you for reading. We are able to do this work because of member support from concerned friends like you. Please donate today to protect Cook Inlet for our future generations.