Chilkat Indian Village and conservation groups sue BLM over mine exploration permitting near Haines

The Chilkat River as seen from Mount Ripinsky in summer of 2017. (Photo by Emily Files/KHNS)

The Chilkat River as seen from Mount Ripinsky in summer of 2017. (Photo by Emily Files/KHNS)

A mining exploration project near Haines is at the center of a lawsuit against the United States Bureau of Land Management.

The Chilkat Indian Village of Klukwan, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, Lynn Canal Conservation and Rivers Without Borders filed suit against BLM.

They’re represented by the Alaska office of Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law firm.

The Canadian company Constantine Metal Resources is exploring a potential mine about 35 miles north of Haines.

The plaintiffs allege BLM failed to consider future impacts of mine development before approving an exploration plan for the Palmer Project.

In 2016, BLM approved Constantine’s plan to expand operations after an assessment found potential environmental impacts to be insignificant.

The complaint claims the department violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act when it gave the plan the go-ahead.

It asks for BLM’s approvals to be invalidated.

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