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There’s another gold rush on, and locals wonder if they can handle a boom fueled by high gold prices and reality TV coverage. The planned Pebble Mine near Bristol Bay — with 7.5 billion metric tons of ore deposits — has Alaskans fretting over the environmental effects. According to recent press reports, another 75 mines have been proposed, while 500 tons of mining equipment is now en route to Nome by barge.

The Alaska Miners Association also reports mining companies paid $165 million in fees and taxes to state and local governments.

“The question Alaskans — and our elected officials — have to ask as we enter our ‘second gold rush’ is whether it is worth it. People passionately opposed to the Pebble Mine are making a strong push to stop that project, but at the same time, dozens more mines are being considered in the same region,” says Carey Restino, editor of the Bristol Bay Times, a newspaper near Dillingham, some 300 miles southwest of Anchorage.

“Will the same response be warranted for those? And is the state setting itself up to handle all this new mining activity in the best interests of its residents? … Alaska has always been a state built on its natural resources — from oil to salmon. Mining is no exception, but mineral prices are catapulting mining activity into a new realm,” Mr. Restino observes.

“The trick here is going to be taking in the bigger picture — beyond, perhaps, the proposed Pebble Mine — and making sure we are prepared to handle this boom.”

TRUMPALICIOUS

“The cost of appearing with this bloviating ignoramus is obvious, it seems to me.”

- George Will on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” questioning Mitt Romney’s association with real estate mogul Donald Trump, who continues to question President Obama’s place of birth.

POLL DU JOUR

• 41 percent of Americans identify themselves as conservatives, 33 percent as moderates and 23 percent as liberals.

• 35 percent of Americans overall say they have a conservative view on economic issues; 11 percent are “very conservative” on these issues.

• 32 percent say they have moderate views on these issues.

• 16 percent have a liberal view of economic issues, 4 percent have a “very liberal” view.

• 29 percent of Americans say they have a conservative view on social issues; 9 percent are “very conservative” on these issues.

• 31 percent say they have moderate views on these issues.

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