Friday, 3 April 2009
Sarah Palin, a crime against nature
The Alaska Community Foundation announced its first round of grants from the Pebble Partnership-endowed Pebble Fund. The endowment is expected to provide $5 million total in competitive grants over the next few years. The next round of awards is in the fall.
Pebble started dishing out money again. $5 million in "grants" is a drop in the ocean to them in another drive to buy the loyalty of the people in the villages.
Last year they spent $12 million to defeat Ballot Measure 4, related to the Clean Water Act, a measure intended to protect wild salmon fisheries in Bristol Bay. That was when Sarah Palin behaved in a very unethical way (surprise, surprise).
“Let me take my governor’s hat off for just a minute here and tell you, personally, Prop. 4 – I vote no on that. I have all the confidence in the world that we have great, very stringent regulations and policies already in place. We’re going to make sure that mines operate only safely, soundly.”
The Palin administration also declined to investigate ethics concerns raised by a Republican lawmaker who said mining officials had tried to buy the loyalty of native leaders, not least by paying $25,000 per month to house workers in the homes of influential locals. One of those houses is owned by Ethel and John Adcox, the parents of a close friend of Todd Palin, the governor’s husband.
Yesterday I wrote a very comprehensive post about mining in Alaska. The link "Pebble Mine" will show all the posts on the subject. They provide some background about Anglo's attitudes to the residents and the villages that stand in the way of their mining operations.
In 2002 they bulldozed a thriving community in Colombia in order to expand the Cerrejon mine, owned by Anglo American and two other multinationals, the largest open pit coal mine in the world. A video exists which shows a small girl with pigtails and pink overalls as she cries and pushes against the shields of Colombian riot police as bulldozers ram her family's home while other community members scream and wail.
Prior to its destruction, Tabaco boasted a school, health clinic, good farmland and a telephone exchange. Today, most former residents have joined three million internally displaced Colombians eking out a living however they can.
Cerrejon might invest on a major expansion, the company president has announced in 2008. As a result, villagers from four more settlements - Roche, Pantilla, Chancleta and Tamaquito - are threatened with displacement.
Coal from Colombia has been dubbed "Colombian blood coal" because of violent displacement of communities and assassinations of union leaders at the country's coal mines.
If developed, the Pebble mine will be the largest mine in North America, with an approximate footprint of at least 28 square miles. Mining gold and copper, unlike coal, leaves behind a staggering amount of toxic waste, which Pebble proposes to store behind two dams — the largest in the world — in a seismically active area.
Pebble is buttering up the villagers with "grants" before they eventually destroy their homes.
This development should please Sarah Palin. In her ideal Alaska, the villages would cease to exist, the communities would be dispersed and her "native problem" would be solved.
Pebble is a recipe for an environmental disaster comparable to the Exxon Valdez spill. The only difference is that it would happen at a slower pace. The results would be the same, if not worse: loss of commercial and subsistence fishing and a massive area with its cultural wealth and all eco-systems destroyed forever.
Pebble would expand and swallow up further villages, defacing increasingly larger areas in a relentless hunger for more gold, more copper, more profits.
Sarah Palin's position in any controversial issue is all too predictable, be it drilling in ANWR, dumping toxic waste in Cook Inlet, allowing crude oil to be stored near an active volcano, fighting the classification of endangered species, killing wolves and bears, rejecting money for social and education projects or cultural genocide.
Sarah Palin can't see the big picture, beyond the very immediate present. The lure of the big dollars is too irresistible and she can't see past a pile of money.
Alaska is a very large, very beautiful and rich state. But there is a limit to what it can safely offer.
History will remember Sarah Palin as a governor who sold Alaska to the big corporations and contributed to the transformation of this wonderful state into an irreversably toxic land, unable to support life...
Article on ADN