Opponents of CBJ mining ordinance changes pleased with Assembly process

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Those opposed to changes proposed by mining industry interests to the CBJ Mining Ordinance are pleased with the Assembly process to date.

That was expressed on Action Line Thursday.

Long time activist Karla Hart, who argued against  the proposed reopening of the AJ Mine downtown in the 1980's, was among those offered public comment to the Assembly Mining Subcommittee last week.  Hart said she's really  happy with the draft proposal that City Attorney Amy Mead suggested.  "I think that that would be a good way to go forward.  So I'm hopeful they take her recommendation.  In addition, Hart said a few of the changes proposed during the meeting would also be appropriate.

Buck Lindekugal, the grassroots attorney for the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, believes the panel is progressing in the right way.    He said public comment was overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining and improving the ordinance instead of gutting it.  He thinks the panel will tell the Assembly to adopt the change as proposed by the city attorney.  

The current ordinance requires a socio-economic study as part of the process for approving a mining project in the city and borough.  Mine advocates say that's not fair since such a study is not required of other industries.

Lindekugal defended the status quo in this fashion.  "What we have here in the City and Borough of Juneau is in order to protect those local interest, the city has asserted its authority to regulate matters of local concern and to do so, not to say 'No, you can't mine', but to say, 'If you're going to mine you need to ameliorate these impacts, take care of this, mitigate this, secure your performance in an appropriate way.'"

Lindekugal says requirements of the local ordinance fill the gaps that occur in both state and federal oversight of mining activities.



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