Pebble’s plan is to build two gigantic storage tanks that will hold billions of gallons of toxic acid that could destroy “the largest sockeye salmon-producing system in the world” [Carol Ann Woody, Ph.D., Fish Biologist from the PBS documentary transcript, linked below].
It’s sitting right next to a fault line, and is only planned to withstand an earthquake many times smaller than the ’64 Alaska earthquake.
I wrote this in a comment on Facebook:
Overall, I believe in developing our resources responsibly, and that Alaska should decide what to do with our state, not the federal government. So I am pro-responsible development, when it’s truly responsible.
This is the kicker for me regarding Pebble Mine, and why I signed the petition, yesterday. They are planning on having two GIGANTIC waste pits that will contain liquid acid residue from the mining process forever, and they’re only rating the pits to withstand a 7.5 earthquake, if I’m remembering correctly [I include the proof below]. Wasn’t the ’64 earthquake a 9.2? If there is even a slight chance that Pebble could get hit with an earthquake over 7.5, then it should be tabled.
In Fukushima, the ancestors wrote a plaque that said don’t build beyond this point. So where did they build the nuclear reactor? Beyond that point.
[This is perhaps unrelated to Pebble, but it’s another example of today’s reckless, myopic thinking] ..we are ripe for a major disaster, thanks largely to Lisa Murkowski. If we get hit by a major solar flare that we’ve gotten historically before where the sky is lit up in the lower-48 too (a photographer’s dream), or someone launches a couple of EMPs, our power grid is going down for many months. Even Newt Gingrich has been talking about this, whom I don’t normally trust. Without being hooked up to the power grid, it is said that all of our nuclear power plants will melt down. And Lisa gutted the bill that passed the House, and was supposed to EMP harden our power grid for the mere price of one stealth bomber. Thanks, Lisa. And she of all people should know about solar flares and EMPs, because she is from Alaska. We have been missing some solar flares that could have taken out our grid, but they weren’t pointed directly at Earth. ADN reported on this about half a year ago.
The love of money, especially, entices people to take unwise risks for themselves and their children. We’re already living on the edge. We should develop responsibly, and never take risks when it comes to the environment.
– Jeff Fenske
TRANSCRIPT: Alaska Gold
NARRATOR: Another design challenge is earthquakes. In 1964, Alaska was struck by a magnitude 9.2 earthquake, the most powerful earthquake ever to have struck North America and the second largest earthquake in recorded history.
Alaska sits on the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire,” and there are many active faults throughout the state. A large enough earthquake near the mine site could have disastrous consequences.
Dr. Bretwood Higman is a geologist and mine opponent who is studying the seismicity around the Pebble deposit. The main concern is the Lake Clark fault, which the U.S. Geological Survey shows pointing towards the mine site.
BRETWOOD HIGMAN, Ph.D., Geologist: The USGS mapped it as far as the southwest end of Lake Clark, and from there it’s about another 15 or 20 miles to the mine site. So that’s the big question mark here is, is what happens in that 15 to 20 miles.
NARRATOR: Pebble maintains that the fault either terminates or bypasses the mine site.
JOHN SHIVELY [CEO, Pebble Partnership]: We did a sort of electromagnetic flying of that fault, and actually, it turned out to go in a different direction than people thought it did. So we have mapped that. That fault has not been active for I think over 11,000 years. So we really don’t think it’s a threat.
NARRATOR: Still, Pebble says they are designing their structures to withstand a magnitude 7.5 earthquake on the Lake Clark fault [This is many times less than a 9.2, because the seismic scale is logarithmic – jeff]. But critics like Higman point out that Pebble won’t release the more sophisticated mapping data that might support their claims.
BRETWOOD HIGMAN: So if they design a facility with very optimistic ideas about seismic hazards and it turns out they’re wrong, it turns out that there is a big risk from earthquakes, that’s exactly the scenario that could lead to a tailings dam failure.