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July 6, 2015

Court Delivers Double-Whammy Over Pebble

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Friday, the Alaska Supreme Court issued two decisions that will have far-reaching impacts about how the Department of Natural Resources conducts business in hard rock mineral exploration, and the ability of the State and others to chill opposition. While the two cases involved the Pebble Prospect exploration, neither will impact the development of that mine. Background In 1988, Teck Cominco drilled the first exploration wells in what would become the 360 square-mile Pebble Prospect. By 2010, ownership of the Pebble claims would change hands from Teck Cominco to Northern Dynasty Minerals to the Pebble Limited Partnership. Collectively, those entities would…

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Court Sees Value in Protecting Bristol Bay

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Before the Bristol Bay Forever Initiative was ever printed on statewide ballots, it had to defend a legal challenge from an individual named Richard Hughes, the Alaska Miners Association, and the Council of Alaska Producers. The Alaska Supreme Court issued an oral decision allowing that initiative to go to the ballot. Today, the Court issued a written order justifying its decision, Hughes v. Treadwell, Slip Op. No. 6981 (Alaska Supreme Court, Jan. 30, 2015). In order for a citizen ballot initiative to be valid in Alaska, it must avoid certain prohibited topics.  Under Article XI, section 7, it may not engage in an appropriation…

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Alaska… You Crazy! Election Recap

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On election night, one state in the nation voted to legalize marijuana, raise the minimum wage, and add an extra level of environmental protection for sensitive ecosystems facing development. It’s largest city also voted to overturn an anti-labor ordinance which was the brain child of a Mayor (running as a Republican for Lt. Governor) who appears to be about to go down in flames to a non-partisan gubernatorial ticket. That’s like a cool, edgy progressive place to live, right? What if I told you that this very same state has elected by a comfortable margin, a majority in the legislature…

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Sullivan Goes ‘Fog of War,’ Then Flees

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Looks like our Republican “Alaskan” Senate candidate has been watching The Fog of War, and taking a little advice from former Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara. “Never answer the question that is asked of you. Answer the question that you wish had been asked of you.” Savvy advice when one’s actual answer might be harmful to one’s political prospects. The question asked of the candidate by KTUU’s Grace Jang was pretty straightforward: “How much backing are you getting from the Koch brothers?” One would expect, perhaps, a numerical answer of some kind, like “millions of dollars.” Percentages maybe. Or a…

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Pebble Mine is Really Sorry (They Got Caught)

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These past few weeks have been bad ones for the Pebble Partnership and its attorneys. Here’s the statement issued last week by Pebble Limited Partnership, the Pebble Mines Corp. and Jermain, Dunnagan & Owens, their law firm, the defendants, and the Renewable Resources Coalition, the plaintiffs, in a long-running lawsuit. RELATED: AK Beat: Billionaire mining investor says Pebble “will not be built” The “Renewable Resources Coalition and Pebble Limited Partnership have today announced a settlement of their litigation pending in Los Angeles. In that litigation, Renewable Resources Coalition alleged that Pebble had unlawfully purchased its confidential records and information from…

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What Could Go Wrong? This.

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There’s a game most of us play. It’s called “What Could Go Wrong?!” You know, like I’m going to hand my nine year old an automatic weapon – “What Could Go Wrong?!” Or, why not go bare-headed and drive a motorcycle really fast? “What Could Go Wrong?!” Then there is the always present, Why don’t we build a giant mine at the headwaters of the largest sockeye salmon fishing run in the entire world? “What Could Go Wrong?” Many Alaskans have asked this question over the last decade regarding the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay. When the state government…

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Mudflats Chats: Sen Candidate Mark Fish (L)

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Mark Fish is one of three Libertarian candidates running for the U.S Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mark Begich. We sat down and talked about libertarianism, the Republican field, the Republican field, abortion, mining, and corporate personhood among other things. Grab a cup of coffee, and sit in! Libertarian Philosophy JEANNE DEVON: I guess I’ll start off with a philosophical question because sometimes I think it’s difficult, especially in today’s world where everything and everyone is so interconnected, to make a case for libertarianism. MARK FISH: It is difficult. DEVON: Because we’re interconnected people, and the actions of an individual…

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Bristol Bay Debate Wednesday!

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Wednesday night is the last in the four part series of moderated debates on the ballot issues of the day. It will focus on Ballot Measure 4: An Act Providing for Protection of Bristol Bay Wild Salmon and Waters Within or Flowing into the Existing 1972 Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve. Thanks to Alaska Common ground for providing a forum for discussion about the SB21 oil tax, the minimum wage, the legalization of marijuana, and the protection of Bristol Bay. A Forum on Bristol Bay Forever Wednesday, August 13, 7 – 9 pm Wilda Marston Theatre, Loussac Library You can click…

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“Silencing Alaskans Act” Likely to Return

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House Bill 77 Sought to Deny Citizens a Voice in Resource Development Alaska is defined by our natural resources – spectacular wildlife, abundant fisheries, vast reserves of oil, gas and other minerals, and endless acres of forests, wetlands and water.  Under our constitution, these resources belong to all Alaskans for our “common use.” They are protected through a sensible set of laws that protect the public’s interest and ensure our resources are developed prudently and sustainably for the maximum benefit of all Alaskans. Because of the tremendous value we put on these resources, Alaskans were outraged when Governor Parnell and…

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Don’t Tread On Grammar: Reader Response

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So, a while ago I made this No Pebble flag using art by the inimitable Ray Troll. It’s a riff on the Gadsden flag. Someone didn’t like it too much. I got this in my e-mail.  Which, of course I forwarded to Jeanne. After some grade school corrections from Jeanne, I created this. Remember kids, fund public education.

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