It was the first of a series of meetings to gather facts about the transboundary river. The task force was created by Juneau legislators in response to community concerns about proposed resource development on both the U.S. and Canadian side.
The most immediate project is Tulsequah Chief Mine at the headwaters of the Taku River. Canadian company Chieftain Metals plans to re-open the mine in 2014, and is barging equipment and supplies from Juneau to the mine. Alaska has no jurisdiction over the Canadian mine, nor does the state require a permit to barge up and down the river.
The eight-member task force will be learning about the health of the river, the agencies responsible for industrial traffic and spill response, and the effectiveness of state and federal laws and regulations. The group will be writing a report to Juneau lawmakers, who will make recommendations on river protections to the state legislature.
The second meeting of the Taku River Fact-Finding Task Force is Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon in room 519 of the state capitol.
- Gov. Bill Walker put a hold on an administrative order he issued in February, saying he needed more stakeholder feedback.
- Hundreds of people gathered Thursday at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve to celebrate the opening of a newly completed Huna Tribal House and the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary. But not everyone could make it. Tribal members and elected officials were stuck at the Juneau International Airport.
- "We’re all expecting to see this fiscal contraction and a reduction in economic indicators. But the reality is that what’s going on at the state level hasn’t hit the communities yet. It hasn’t hit Juneau yet," local analyst Meilani Schijvens says.
- Scattered throughout Alaska are hundreds of pieces of land that have been transferred to Alaska Native Corporations by the federal government.Some came with contamination. Getting them cleaned up has been a decades long process, and a new report catalogs those contaminated sites, but leaves some questions about who will orchestrate cleanup – and when.