It’s been intense here in the Chilkat Valley lately, as the Constantine-DOWA Partnership tries to advance the Palmer Project to underground exploration, the Haines Borough barrels ahead to develop an industrial shipping port on Lutak Inlet, and the Haines State Forest proposes an aggressive timber harvest schedule for the next five years. Thank you for supporting our work to protect the Chilkat Watershed and Lutak Inlet. We could not do this work without you.
We just learned that the Alaska Mental Health Trust, which manages the land that Constantine and DOWA are trying to develop into a massive underground sulfide mine just upstream of Klukwan and Haines, is currently reviewing Constantine’s updated Plan of Operations. Like many aspects of the Palmer Project, there is no public process for this action. So, we have to create our own public process. We could really use your help. We’ve made it easy for you to take action.
If you’re not familiar with the Alaska Mental Health Trust, you’re not alone. This is a land trust owned by the State of Alaska, used to generate revenue for state-funded mental health services. While mental health services are essential and should be well-funded, it’s counterproductive when Alaska’s lands and waters are degraded and polluted in order to generate that income.
Between the poisoning of the Chilkat Watershed and the negative social impacts that come with big mining projects, the Palmer Project threatens the mental health of the people of the Chilkat Valley, and those who care about this place. Add in the project’s risky economics and the likelihood of perpetual, long-term clean-up costs, and the Palmer Project really is detrimental to the Alaska Mental Health Trust and its beneficiaries.
We are at the edge of a point of no return with the Palmer Project. If Constantine-DOWA goes underground, they will transform this landscape forever, unleashing acid mine drainage and heavy metals that are likely to leach into our rivers for perpetuity, even if they don’t develop a full-blown mine. They are trying to advance to underground exploration next year, with work beginning this summer. Now is the time to stop the Palmer Project. Next year could be too late.
Thank you for taking action to protect the Chilkat Watershed and its communities!
Shannon Donahue, Upper Lynn Canal Organizer
P.S. Do you want to do more to protect the Chilkat Watershed? Click here to send a letter to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation demanding a public process for the Palmer Projects waste discharge permit. And, you can find our whole suite of actions to protect the Chilkat at this link.