Having trouble finding a Grinch this Christmas season?
Try Cynthia Carroll, CEO of Anglo-American Mining Company. Carroll’s company has teamed up with Northern Dynasty (like the television show Dynasty, only eviler) to build the world’s biggest dam in Alaska so she can mine piles of gold, which will have the unfortunate impact of destroying the world’s largest salmon fishery. Not only will the dam prevent the salmon from reaching their spawning grounds, the cyanide Carroll uses to extract gold from rock will likely seep into the river, ruining the salmon’s sense of smell, which is vital to them finding their way, if it doesn’t just kill them outright. In fairness, Carroll apparently needs something with which to re-gild her toilet.
Unfortunately, Carroll’s need for a soft, shiny, yellow resting area for her derriere has a price: the elimination of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery might keep rappers rolling in bling and allow central bankers to keep using words like “bullion,” but it’s also going to imperil grizzly bears, bald eagles and the many other creatures that rely on the salmon, not to mention the Native people who traditionally rely on the salmon fishery for food. Oh, and it will threaten to put many of Alaska’s commercial salmon fishermen out of business, which will mean the end of the world’s only major supplier of sustainably caught, non-toxic wild salmon. On the other hand, Carroll would look totally powerful with that sceptered orb she’s been craving.
Anglo-American and Northern Dynasty plan to spend $100 million this year on consultants, environmental impact statements, and bribing the locals (or, as they put it, “getting the social license”). That investment makes me doubt Carroll’s statement that “if the mine cannot be developed in a way that provides proper protections, we will not build it,” a statement she dictated while going for her daily nude swim in her pool of gold coins (okay, I made up the nude swim thing, but isn’t that what mining company CEOs do to stay fit?).
I don’t think greed-monsters like Carroll, who dedicate their lives to destroying ecosystems so the world’s royalty can have some new designs for their crowns and chalices, would throw away $100 million just because of some salmon. After all, if mining executives let every little fishery stop them, what would Mr. T put around his neck then? A hemp choker? I think not.
On a serious note, I’ve set up an action, where you can contact Citigroup’s David Challen, a board member of Anglo-American, and ask him to apply his firm’s commitment to sustainability to rein in Cyanide Cynthia’s gold-lust.
Get Grist in your inbox