Saturday, April 23, 2011

Take Action to Protect Our Property Values and the Health of our Families

Tell DEC to protect our families and property values by denying Usibelli Coal Mine Company’s dangerous air permit application.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is considering issuing an air permit allowing Usibelli Coal Mine company to operate an open pit coal strip mine in the middle of our communities.

Our property values and the health of our families are at stake. Common sense says that it is unhealthy to live near coal mines. No one wants dirty coal dust in the air, constant blasting and over 100 coal trucks each day in their neighborhood. Property values and public health will suffer if DEC approves this air permit.

Tell DEC to protect our families and property values by denying Usibelli Coal Mine Company’s dangerous air permit application.

See a coal blast in slow motion at the Usibelli Coal Mine web site. The dust and other air pollutants from this project will impact the entire Matanuska Valley.

Your Actions are Needed Today! Comments Are Due by May 11th. LINK TO ACTION

Tell DEC to protect our families and property values by denying Usibelli Coal Mine Company’s dangerous air permit application.
To submit written comments contact Sean Lowther with the Department of Environmental Conservation
fax: 907-269-7508,
mail: ADEC Air Permits Program, 619 E. Ship Creek Avenue, Ste 249, Anchorage, AK 99501-1677

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Each square represents one square mile. Within one mile of the mine permit edges, home loans may be denied by local banks. From the bank's standpoint, in coal country, when a coal strip mine comes to town, the property values plumet. As a result, people walk away from their homes finding that they owe more to the bank than their home is worth. Add to this the fact that people face higher medical expenses due to health impacts associated with coal dust, and small businesses close down. Tourism vanishes, and sportsfishing, hunting, and subsistence activities suffer from restricted access and from pollution.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Property Values & Coal don't mix

Did you know a local bank has denied home loans within a mile of the proposed coal mines?

Banks take the hit when people walk away from their loans when the property values plunge below the amount they owe on loans.

Athabascan Tribe Voices Concern Over Coal Mine, APRN Radio, Talk of Alaska, 2/24/11

By Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
"The Chickaloon tribe is taking its concern over a proposed mine in the Mat Su Valley to an international audience. The Athabascan community near Palmer is opposed to a coal mine project being developed by the Usibelli Company that would access coal at a site called Wishbone Hill. The tribe filed a document presenting their concerns to the United Nations Independent Expert on water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, a Portuguese human rights expert appointed by the U.N Human Rights Council who will be taking testimony in the U.S and meeting with State department officials. This is her first trip to the United States. The Wishbone Hill issue is a test case in Alaska to see how the U. N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples might be used to intervene in development projects. President Obama declared U.S. support for the document in December.
The tribe claims the area of development is where they have traditionally hunted and fished, especially for potlatches and other important gatherings and ceremonies.
Harrison will be testifying in California to the U.N.’s de Albuquerque about the tribe’s fear that the coal mine will pollute Moose creek, a waterway the tribe has spent more than a million dollars successfully restoring as a salmon spawning creek. Harrison says bringing their case to an international audience should help pressure the U.S. to uphold the U.N. Declaration.
Harrison says he is hopeful that new DNR commissioner Dan Sullivan will come to Chickaloon and listen to the tribe’s complaint with the coal mining project. But he’s concerned about what he perceives as a problem with the state’s mandate of developing resources while keeping the environment clean.
During a recent broadcast of the statewide call in program Talk of Alaska, Commissioner Sullivan addressed this issue of a perceived dual mandate as he responded to callers from Chickaloon and Palmer who were concerned about the prospect of the Wishbone Hill coal development plan. One caller said her son’s school is within site of the project and she worries about the possibility of coal dust blowing into the school yard on windy days. Sullivan said resource development is critical for the future of the state.
Sullivan said when he testifies to the state legislature, he often starts by quoting article 8 Section 1 of the state constitution that reads in part that the state encourages development of resources for maximum use consistent with the public interest. He said it’s a broad statement but clearly one that was important to the delegates who wrote the constitution.

Commissioner Sullivan will be meeting with the Chickaloon tribal council on March 14th to hear their concerns. Another meeting is also scheduled for Sutton."

New report, agencies differ on environmental, health impacts of coal ash in Fairbanks, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 2/24/11

Please comment and see the comments by OldOwl & Wildsalmon.

Did you know Rep Don Young's H.R. 517 would entirely repeal the EPA's veto authority under the Clean Water Act.

Radioactive Coal & Coal Ash:

Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste
By burning away all the pesky carbon and other impurities, coal power plants produce heaps of radiati

Coal Ash: Radiation Protection

Radioactive Elements in Coal and Fly Ash:
Abundance, Forms, and Environmental Significance

Some Amazing Facts about Nuclear Power

Coal Combustion: Nuclear Resource or Danger

Radioactive Coal Article #137

The levels of the contaminates in coal have been measured by the University of Alaska as well as the USGS. The trace toxins are measured/reported in the part per million (PPM).

Uranium is found within Healy coal at about 1.6 PPM, along with its radioactive isotope that occurs at a fractional percentage. Lead is around 9.00 PPM, and mercury is around .02 to .05 PPM. The concentrations vary with the samples taken.

Coal Databases

Although the concentrations of these toxins are small, the quantity of the coal burned is large, and as a result these small concentrations add up quickly. For example, literally, pounds of the radioactive isotope of uranium have been dumped on to Fairbanks over the decades. High radiation levels have been measured near the power plants. How many cancers this has caused is of great concern. The toxic properties of the other toxins like lead and mercury are well known. How many pregnant women have delivered brain damaged kids from their exposure to mercury that is methylated in the environment? How many kids have had their IQs lowered by their exposure to lead that has been measured in the Fairbanks soils?

When the true costs of burning coal are measured (human deaths, injuries, cancers, etc) coal is THE MOST EXPENSIVE fuel by far. Coal lobbyists don't want you to know this.

See the Harvard Report: Coal costs US taxpayers over $500 billion US per year!

I copied the above comment from an earlier post to an editorial by Steve Denton of Usibelli Coal MIne. Strange that the link to the USGS no longer works... Also, strange how Ms. Carter, PR person at Usibelli has written threatening letters trying to get people fired at USGS, UA colleges, and Doctors who have spoken out about the detrimental impacts of coal on PEOPLE. It is also strange how the SPILLS database at DEC no longer is up on-line which shows hundreds toxic spills by Usibelli and Hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and citations which they are contesting.

The data base with the coal information on Healy mysteriously no longer contains the ONLY active coal mine in Alaska, Usibelli Coal Mine - in the DENALI BOROUGH! But, you can look up Matanuska coal at:

Sign Petitions!

Save communities from mountaintop mining Tell Don Young to knock it off: I urge you to oppose any bills that attack EPA's ability to protect the public under the Clean Water Act. Rep. Don Young's H.R. 517 would entirely repeal the EPA's veto authority under the Clean Water Act.

Donnie's press release

Salmon & Coal mining don't mix!

Quick link to send a letter! Read more at Chuitna Citizen's Coalition or Cook Inletkeeper.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chickaloon Village Press Release

Chickaloon Village presents its case against Coal Mining to United Nations Expert on the Human Right to Water

For Immediate Release

February 22, 2011: Chickaloon Native Village, a federally-recognized Athabascan Indian Tribal government in Alaska, filed a communication to the United Nations Independent Expert on the human right to water and sanitation in conjunction with her first official visit to the United States, which began today.

Chickaloon Village’s submission asserts that the new open-pit coal strip mine in its traditional territory proposed by the Usibelli Corporation would contaminate local drinking water sources as well as rivers, streams and groundwater that support salmon, moose and other animals and plants vital for subsistence, religious and cultural practices. The US Federal Government and the State of Alaska have, to date, not responded to Chickaloon’s firmly-stated opposition to the mine.

The visit to the US by the Independent Expert, Mrs. Catarina de Albuquerque, a Portuguese human rights expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, includes stops in Washington DC, Boston Massachusetts and Northern California, where she will meet with the Winnemem Wintu and other Indigenous representatives. Her US visit will end on March 2, 2011.

During her visit she will meet with the US State Department and relevant Federal agencies as well organizations, communities and experts to receive information regarding the human right to water and sanitation and the federal and state policies and practices that affect this right. She is expected to make recommendations to the US government at the conclusion of her visit.

The right to water for Chickaloon and other Indigenous Peoples is not limited to access to safe drinking water and sanitation. It is closely linked to a range of other rights including Self-determination, subsistence, health, land and resources, cultural and religious practice and free, prior and informed consent. International standards including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognize Indigenous Peoples’ right to determine their own priorities for development and to exercise free, prior and informed consent regarding activities which may affect their traditional lands and resources, including water.

Coal mining in and around Chickaloon in the early 1900’s had devastating impacts, including contaminating rivers and decimating traditional food sources such as moose and salmon. The tribes’ long years of effort to restore its culture, subsistence, language, health and ecosystems, including its waterways, will be severely undercut if not nullified by the proposed new mining.

Explaining the reasons behind Chickaloon’s filing, Traditional Chief Gary Harrison stated: “International standards like the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognize our inherent sacred right to protect our water and keep it clean for the animals, fish and future generations of our Nation. Our right to water is the same as our right to life. We can’t sit back and allow our human right to water to be violated again”.

For more information please contact:

Chickaloon Village Tribal Chief Gary Harrison: (907) 232-0777,
Chickaloon Village Traditional Council Secretary Penny Westing:
Chickaloon Village Attorney Geoffery Stauffer: (907) 868-1859,
International Indian Treaty Council General Counsel Alberto Saldamando: (415) 641-4462,
International Indian Treaty Council Alaska Office, Executive Director Andrea Carmen: (907) 745-4482,