After mining exec weighs in, Juneau Assembly holds off on boundary mine resolution

NASA satellite imagery shows Southeast Alaska in true color on Nov. 24, 2001.

NASA satellite imagery shows Southeast Alaska in true color on Nov. 24, 2001. (Public domain image by Jacques Descloitres/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC)

A local mine executive urged the Juneau Assembly to reconsider a resolution urging federal action on transboundary mining, and the Assembly did on Monday night.

The resolution would have urged the federal government to invoke a treaty to enforce protections for Alaska resources from upstream mines in British Columbia. Recently, the borough assemblies of Sitka and Ketchikan passed a similar resolution. In 2015, the Juneau Assembly did, too.

Heather Hardcastle of Salmon Beyond Borders said transboundary mining should be tackled at the highest levels between Ottawa and Washington.

“This by no means is an anti-mining resolution,” she said. “This is a chance to get binding protections in place that only come about in an agreement between two nations.”

Jerry Nankervis, July 30, 2015. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

Jerry Nankervis

Juneau Deputy Mayor Jerry Nankervis put the brakes on the resolution.

“We were all on the Assembly provided a letter by a gentlemen in our community speaking to this resolution and what he believes to be inaccuracies in it,” Nankervis said. “And I am also concerned about the message we’re sending with this.”

The letter he referred to was an email from Mike Satre, an executive with Hecla Greens Creek Mine. The email urged the Assembly to work through Gov. Walker’s efforts on transboundary mine safety at the state and provincial levels rather than trying to invoke international treaties.

Mike Satre

Mike Satre in 2015. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

The Assembly pulled the resolution and sent it to its Committee of the Whole for reconsideration next month.

Hecla owns one mining site under exploration in British Columbia. It’s in a watershed that empties just south of the Alaska border. Greens Creek is one of Juneau’s biggest private employers.

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