Since the 1950s, Alaska’s economy has relied on boom and bust extractive industries. With industrial-scale logging, natural gas, and oil industries continuing to decline, Alaska is already beginning to invest heavily into a new era of boom and bust extraction in the form of industrial-scale mining for transition metals and minerals.
Mining and associated activities intersect with a variety of critical issues Alaskans are already facing. Most importantly, mining operations threaten critical subsistence resources and contribute to toxic air and water pollution that impact community health. Additionally, increased mining activity will expand the need for dirty energy to power mining operations and require the building of roads to access mining claims which would intersect critical salmon and other wildlife habitats.
As the country takes the necessary steps to transition to a clean energy future and economy to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis, it’s imperative that climate justice is at the forefront. As we begin to consider sourcing additional metals and minerals for clean energy technology, we feel strongly that this transition must be just and work to avoid creating unnecessary sacrifice zones across Alaska.