Alaska Senator Mark Begich calls it a mistake for EPA to extend its comment period on mining impacts to Bristol Bay. During a town hall meeting in Juneau on Friday, Begich said he spoke to the Environmental Protection Agency and made it clear he wanted the watershed assessment complete.
“I wanted the science to determine the outcome of what should happen in that region and the longer they take, the more politics are played. And so adding these 30 days is not something I supported. I think they should’ve completed it and move forward. I know some like that, some don’t like that. But science should make the determination before you start talking about swapping non-renewable resources for renewable resources – mining versus fishing.”
The public comment period for EPA’s revised draft assessment began April 26 and was supposed to end at the end of May. According to EPA’s website, the 30-day extension was granted in response to request from interested parties. The new comment period deadline in June 30.
After the final EPA assessment is complete, Begich says he’ll make a stronger statement on where he stands on the issue.
Five US Democratic senators from the Pacific Northwest recently wrote a letter asking President Barack Obama to consider blocking the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay. Begich was not one of these senators.
- Plows cleared away slushy snow Saturday morning. But icy conditions persisted because state workers wanted to avoid using too much overtime. Budget cuts to the Alaska Department of Transportation will affect drivers for another winter.
- For the past three months, a magistrate judge based in Yakutat has covered Haines arraignments and other court proceedings. But this week, that changes.
- Alaska Airlines has won government approval to buy rival Virgin America after agreeing to reduce its flight-selling partnership with American Airlines.
- As the winter solstice approaches and daylight hours are short in Alaska, public safety, medical groups and other Alaska businesses are calling attention to pedestrian safety.