Home Runs: Alaska’s leaders must walk their salmon talk [B.C. Mines] – by Malena Marvin (Juneau Empire – July 9, 2015)

http://juneauempire.com/

Malena Marvin is the Executive Director of Southeast Alaska Conservation Council.

Walk up to most houses in rural Southeast Alaska, including ours, and the first thing you see is an impossibly long row of battered XtraTuf rubber boots. There are boots for the family, the friends who stopped by to chat, extras for the summer folks who came to visit or work as crew, and probably a pair or two with mysterious origins. Together, they tell a story of a certain way of life, one lived by the tidelines and on the water, and one defined by adventure and hard work outdoors.

Wrangellite or Skagwegian, Republican or Democrat, Native or newcomer, our families are diverse. But our family values in this place do have a few common elements. Jars full of berries and fish are the obvious one. A commitment to taking care of friends and neighbors is another. I also look across the islands and fjords of our region and see that few of us are more than one degree of separation from a family whose livelihood depends on fishing or tourism dollars.

It’s in reverence to our unique way of life, to these things that unify us, that today I’m asking Gov. Bill Walker to work harder for clean water, and to walk his talk about putting Alaska’s fish first when it comes to policy.

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Red Chris Mine gets green light from B.C. government (Canadian Press/CBC News BC – June 19, 2015)

http://www.cbc.ca/news

Mine is owned by same company that operates Mount Polley

A gold and copper mine in northwestern B.C. that still faces angry opposition from its neighbours in Alaska has received approval for a full operating permit from the provincial government.

B.C. Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett announced Friday that the Red Chris Mine, owned by Imperial Metals, will soon be in full production, despite environmental concerns from First Nations, environmental groups and Alaskans, who are downstream from the mine site.

Those worries were magnified last summer, when a tailings pond collapsed at the Mount Polley mine, another Imperial Metals-owned mine in interior B.C.

Bennett said he’s confident the Red Chris Mine, located about 130 kilometres from the Alaska border, won’t experience a similar breach because the tailings storage facility has undergone three independent reviews.

He noted the mine has operated successfully for months on a temporary permit while officials monitored the facility.

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My Turn: Enough is enough – we need international oversight now – by Rob Sanderson (Juneau Empire – JUne 17, 2015)

http://juneauempire.com/

Rob Sanderson Jr. is the 2nd vice president of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, co-chair of the United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group, and president of the Ketchikan Tlingit and Haida Community Council.

Mount Polley’s owner received its permit to operate the Red Chris Mine in the headwaters of the Stikine River despite assurances from the British Columbia Minister of Mines that these types of tailings dams would not be used following the disastrous failure of the Mount Polley dam.

B.C.’s words do not match their actions.

The government of B.C. continues to downplay the need for any international oversight over the watersheds flowing into Southeast Alaska stating that we have nothing to worry about from the huge mining projects both active and proposed in these watersheds. The government of British Columbia, through their rigorous permitting and enforcement process, has everything under control. There are even those in Alaska repeating these same words.

So far, just like the permits themselves, these are only words. Words did not stop the Mount Polley dam failure. The B.C. government issued the final permit for the operation of the Red Chris Mine’s tailings dam despite serious concerns about dam safety and the ability of Canadian regulators to oversee these operations.

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