“We support studies like this one but we take strong exception to the choice made by the study authors to incorporate information from an irrelevant study in Europe. The conclusions drawn led to unfounded fears on the part of local residents who in fact, are in no danger.”
made by the study authors to incorporate information from an irrelevant study in Europe,” said John Rense, NANA‘s Vice President of Resources. “The conclusions drawn led to unfounded fears on the part of local residents who in fact, are in no danger.”
In order to address the concerns that the study has raised, NANA, TeckCominco, the National Park Ser- vice and AIDEA are working together to coordinate further studies. Research that has already been initiated includes an Alaska Department of Health and Social Services review of bioavailability studies conducted in 1995 on Red Dog concentrates. Initial reviews indi- cate that the metals from the Red Dog concentrates are in a form that the body does not readily absorb.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is sampling resident fish in the streams along the DMTS road to determine if there are elevated metals in the fish tissues. Similar studies
conducted on fish in the nearby Wulik River have shown that the mining activ- ity has not impacted fish tissues. In fact, the fish have been shown to be expand- ing their habitat along the nearby streams due to the improved water quality down- stream of the mine resulting from TeckCominco collecting and treating naturally mineralized water along with the mine drainage waters.
Further studies are expected to come out of the cooperative efforts with hopes of addressing the public concerns and bringing this issue into perspective.
“The main thing is that we Inupiaq are the original environmentalists,” said NANA Regional Corporation President Charlie Curtis. “We are proud of the Red Dog Mine, not only because of its eco- nomic benefits but also because of the commitment made to protect subsis- tence hunting and fishing in our region. We have overcome many challenges to make Red Dog a success. We will continue to work with all involved parties to ensure fulfillment of our commitment.”
AMEREF gets new forestry module, upgrades
By Jason Brune RDC Projects Coordinator and AMEREF Coordinator
Ask a student where milk comes from and he’ll probably roll his eyes and say, “A cow.”
Ask the same student where a pencil, computer, or car come from and he’ll likely shrug his shoulders and say, ‘I don’t know.”
But, ask the same student their opinion on drilling for oil, timber harvesting, or mining and they are likely to recite an environmental sound bite stating their opposition.
Enter the AMEREF program—a non-profit Alaskan specific education program created by teachers in conjunction with industry. AMEREF, the Alaska Mineral and Energy Resource Education Fund, has been helping educate Alaskan students for nearly 20 years. AMEREF helps teach Alaskan students about the origin of such products as pencils, computers, and cars while outlining the benefits of responsible resource development.
AMEREF’s mission is to provide Alaska’s students with the knowledge to make informed decisions on mineral, energy, and forest resources. “People need to know the origins of the raw materials that comprise products we use every day,” AMEREF president Teresa Imm said. “With the importance of natural resources to Alaska’s economy, it is imperative we bestow this knowledge on our children.”
AMEREF represents the private half of one of the state’s most successful and longest-running public-private partnerships. In conjunction with the Department of Educa- tion, AMEREF helps provide a balanced perspective on mineral, energy, and forestry issues and their effect on Alaska.
AMEREF develops and distributes to Alaskan schools the Alaska Resources Kit, an Alaska-specific, interdisciplinary set of curriculum modules, lessons, activities, and support materials on Alaska’s natural resources. The kits, which are in use in all 54 Alaska school districts, include samples of oil, minerals and rocks common to Alaska, videos, posters, maps, reference books, and dozens of lesson plans and learning activities. The lesson plans are constantly updated to meet current state education standards.
Most recently, AMEREF added a Forestry Module which delves into the science, economics, production, and end-products of timber harvesting. Work is starting on an AMEREF multimedia CD project which will bring a technological upgrade to the AMEREF kits’ materials as well as increase the program’s exposure.
Funding for the program, which includes the Alaska Resources Kits as well as training the teachers that use them is provided through private donations, grants, and
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August 2001 / RESOURCE REVIEW / Page 5