Posted Monday, October 09, 2017 - 3:48 pm
Alaskans seeking more protections for the state’s salmon notched a victory Oct. 9 when a Superior Court ruling overturned Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott’s denial of a ballot initiative to overhaul permitting laws for projects in and around salmon-bearing waters.
Judge Mark Rindner wrote in a 20-page order that the salmon habitat initiative does not prescribe how countless miles of state rivers and wetlands be used, but rather simply regulates the quality of that water while it is in use.
Posted Thursday, October 05, 2017 - 4:04 pm
Pebble Limited Partnership has finally done one of the things it has long been criticized for not doing: the company released an actual mine plan.
CEO Tom Collier discussed the major points of the plan Oct. 5 at a Resource Development Council for Alaska meeting in Anchorage.
Posted Tuesday, October 03, 2017 - 5:24 pm
Is there discretion in the term “significant adverse effects?”
That is the question at the center of the court debate over a ballot initiative aimed at reforming Alaska’s permitting laws to better protect salmon habitat from large development projects.
The Department of Law doesn’t think so, and Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Bakalar stressed as much during about 90 minutes of oral arguments Oct. 3 in Anchorage for Stand for Salmon’s appeal of Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott’s rejection of the initiative, which was based on a Department of Law recommendation.
Posted Wednesday, September 06, 2017 - 12:19 pm
Alaska fishing groups concerned about the impacts that large-scale development projects could have on salmon habitat are pushing to reform the state’s permitting requirements through a voter initiative on the 2018 ballot.
Posted Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 1:22 pm
Is Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt just putting the shoe on the other foot?
The EPA announced July 11 that it was starting the process to withdraw the proposed determination reached under President Barack Obama’s administration to prohibit large-scale mining in Bristol Bay — a roundabout way of saying the Pebble mine project.
A 90-day public comment period on the proposed withdrawal is now open through Oct. 17.
Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 12:35 pm
Recently, President Trump announced a $1 trillion plan to fix the nation’s roads, bridges, dams, and airports. And while Congressional approval may hinge on the specifics of funding these projects, Americans should be concerned with whether the country can obtain sufficient metals and minerals to undertake such a large effort.
Posted Friday, May 12, 2017 - 12:21 pm
Pebble Limited Partnership and the Environmental Protection Agency have agreed to walk away from the courtroom, with Pebble getting to keep its project alive and the EPA holding on to its critical Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment.
Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 1:08 pm
A contentious dispute over taxes is close to resolution between Teck Alaska, operator of the Red Dog Mine north of Kotzebue and the North West Arctic Borough.
A new payment-in-lieu-of-tax, or PILT, has been agreed to by Teck and borough administrators, and is expected to be approved by the North West Arctic Borough assembly. It would result in payments to the borough ranging from $18 million to $26 million per year for 10 years.
According to Teck’s annual financial filing, the new PILT will be about 30 percent larger than the last agreement.
Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 1:08 pm
Alaska saw a dip in mining jobs during 2016, numbers attributed to losses in the oil patch as well as hard rock mines when commodities prices took a dive.
Employment numbers are tallied in different ways by various agencies. Alaska Department of Labor statistics show Alaska went from 17,400 mining jobs in 2015 to 14,200 jobs in 2016.
That number lumped in petroleum jobs, said Alaska Economist Neal Fried, with “mom and pop” placer mines and large entities such as Usibelli coal.
Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 1:07 pm
JUNEAU — It is already being dubbed, “fish first, nothing else.”
Reps. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, and Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, have introduced a bill that would set up a new fisheries habitat permitting system, to be administered by the state Department of Fish and Game, for construction projects that affect waterways.
Critics say the legislation would add serious burdens to environmental permit systems that are complicated enough, and set standards that many development projects will be unable to meet.
Posted Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 4:38 pm
Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack approved Pebble Limited Partnership’s long-awaited land-use permit April 11 with stipulations that include a $2 million bond to backstop exploration cleanup.
The permit is for 12 months; Pebble had sought a permit through 2018.
Pebble applied for the miscellaneous land-use permit, or MLUP, last Oct. 13. MLUP approval for most activities is often little more than a formality, but next to nothing about Pebble is normal either, from the size of the project to the fervor it generates.
Posted Wednesday, April 05, 2017 - 1:14 pm
PacRim Coal’s plan for a 12.5 million-tons per year export coal mine has been put on hold, very likely ending work to develop the mine that has spanned decades.
PacRim, an affiliate of Dallas-based Hunt Oil Co., has withdrawn from a lengthy quest for regulatory approvals for its Chuitna Coal Project, a spokesman said.
The project is in the Beluga coalfields on the west side of Cook Inlet, 50 miles west of Anchorage.
Posted Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 4:30 pm
Kenai, Homer and Seward are up for consideration as sites for a new graphite processing plant.
A Vancouver-based company is working on plans to develop Alaska’s sole graphite find, located on the Seward Peninsula about 37 miles north of Nome. Part of the development plan includes a value-added manufacturing facility to process the raw graphite from the mine into coated spherical graphite for lithium-ion electric vehicles batteries and other products.
Posted Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 9:58 am
With the sides reportedly closing in on a settlement, an Alaska federal judge agreed to hit pause on Pebble Limited Partnership’s lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency one more time.
On March 20 U.S. District Court of Alaska Judge H. Russel Holland signed an order to stay proceedings in the suit until May 4, the deadline by which he expects Pebble and the EPA to have reached a deal to close the case, the order states.
Posted Wednesday, March 08, 2017 - 11:13 am
Development of the Ambler Mining District road project is now in federal hands.
The Bureau of Land Management issued a Federal Register notice Feb. 28 requesting public input regarding what topics the agency should consider in drafting the environmental impact statement, or EIS, for the mining access road.
Posted Friday, February 17, 2017 - 1:52 pm
The owners of the Pebble mine project fired back Friday against claims from a New York stock investment firm that the prospect is not economically or politically viable.
Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. called the Feb. 14 report from Kerrisdale Capital Management — which holds a short position in Northern Dynasty and could benefit from its stock value dropping — “unfounded” and “unsupported speculation.”
Posted Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 2:29 pm
A New York investment firm tore apart claims by the owners of the Pebble mine project that developing the prospect is economically viable in a no-holds-barred report released Feb. 14.
Posted Wednesday, February 08, 2017 - 3:28 pm
There is ample development potential in Alaska’s lone graphite prospect, according to a preliminary economic report on the mine venture.
The Graphite Creek flake graphite deposit near Nome is being pursued by Vancouver-based Graphite One Resources. A preliminary economic assessment of the resource and Graphite One’s plans to extract and process it found the project could have a value to investors of more than $1 billion and a payback period of just four years.
Posted Wednesday, February 01, 2017 - 9:20 am
JUNEAU — A measure intended to add roadblocks for Pebble mine got its first hearing Jan. 31 in the Legislature.
House Bill 14, proposed by Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, would require the Legislature to approve any permitting documents or authorizations for mines within the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve.
Pebble Mine, proposed for the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed, is within the reserve.
Speaking to the House Special Committee on Fisheries, Josephson said his goal was to strengthen a ballot initiative passed by voters in 2014.
Posted Friday, January 27, 2017 - 1:50 pm
ANCHORAGE (AP) — An undeveloped Alaska coal field, California’s offsets for carbon pollution and thousands of acres of forest are the unlikely players in a complex agreement that is expected to generate millions for an Alaska Native organization.
The agreement protects the land from development and sets up financial benefits for the Chugach Alaska Corp., a regional Alaska Native corporation representing 2,500 Aleut, Eskimo and Indian shareholders around Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Many largely rely on commercial fisheries and a subsistence lifestyle.