State biologists say a study shows pollution from an abandoned Canadian mine upstream of Southeast Alaska does not harm fish.
A chief critic of the Tulsequah Chief Mine says the research doesn’t tell the whole story.
The Tulsequah Chief, about 40 miles northeast of Juneau, has been closed for more than a half-century. Two companies tried to reopen the copper, zinc, lead, gold and silver mine in the past decade. Both failed, the most recent earlier this year.
So, polluted water has continued to leach into the Tulsequah River, which flows into the Taku River, which enters the ocean near the capital city.
That has raised concerns among Taku fishermen that salmon runs are being damaged – or that the fish might be unsafe to eat.
Dissolved metals such as copper, which can affect aquatic life, were of particular concern.
A Department of Fish and Game study, released in late October, says fish samples aren’t showing metal contamination.