Officially, Gov. Mike Dunleavy is not taking a position on the mine, unlike his predecessor, Gov. Bill Walker, who opposed it. But the new governor is already making moves that have encouraged the mine’s backers and worried its opponents.
The company is trying to develop one of the biggest gold mines in the world in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The mine, if built, would disturb 2,800 acres of wetlands. Because Donlin can’t restore all of those wetlands, it is required to protect wetlands somewhere else.
A coalition of environmental groups are suing the Trump administration to challenge what would be the first oil production facility in Arctic federal waters, claiming the federal government’s analysis leading to its approval was faulty.
BP is undertaking a massive effort to get the clearest picture yet of what the Prudhoe Bay oil field looks like. The idea is that, after all these years, there’s more oil at Prudhoe Bay to drill, but it’s in smaller, harder-to-find pockets.