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September 22, 2021

Court Delivers Double-Whammy Over Pebble

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…

Parnell Targets Former First Lady

Obama is a socialist. Health care is communism. Closed parks are fascism. It’s weird the way words and labels get thrown around these days. Apparently dictionaries are one of the things some people no longer believe in. Here’s a word that doesn’t get thrown around but should: corporatocracy. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “a society or system that is governed or controlled by corporations.” I joke about living in a resource colony but it isn’t actually funny. When the Corrupt Bastards Club was running the Legislature, then-Gov. Frank Murkowski asked them to effectively strip Alaskans of the right to…

And Now, a Message from Gov. Sean Parnell

Governor Parnell and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, headed up by Daniel Sullivan, rejected a petition on Friday filed by local citizens seeking to protect wild Alaska salmon streams from coal strip mining in Upper Cook Inlet. And by Upper Cook Inlet, I mean directly across from Anchorage in the villages of Tyonek and Beluga. The massive Chuitna Coal project would need to drain wetlands, and completely remove productive salmon streams which are home to all five species of Alaskan salmon in a totally unprecedented act that would make all salmon streams in the state vulnerable to the bulldozer…

Good News for Chuitna Salmon

I present to you, in the middle of chaos and frustration… (drum roll please)… a small victory! In a decision issued February 25, 2013, the Alaska Superior Court ruled that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) violated its own rules by denying Alaskans’ their right to keep water in streams to protect wild salmon runs. The decision in Chuitna Citizens Coalition vs. Dan Sullivan, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, takes on special importance as the Alaska legislature considers bills introduced by Governor Parnell (HB 77/SB 26) which will strip Alaskans of their right to protect “instream flows,” which are…

Governor Sean Parnell Supports Destruction of Thriving Salmon Habitat for Coal

Mudflats readers will remember coverage over the last year of the issue of the “Unsuitable Lands Petition” that Cook Inletkeeper and the Chuitna Citizens Coalition submitted to the state. Basically, what this petition did was to put forth the idea that certain areas are just plain unsuitable for coal strip mining – specifically the areas directly on either side of the Chuit River (above), and its tributaries that were deemed “important salmon habitat” for Cook Inlet. The petition, if successful, would ensure that a narrow ribbon of land – 50 feet on either side of tributaries, and 100 feet on…

A Lawsuit in Gov. Sean Parnell’s Future? Stonewalling Angers Anti-Coal Groups.

~The mouth of the Chuit River, between Tyonek and Beluga, Alaska Remember, way back last year when I rode a bus in a snowstorm to go hear testimony in Kenai? It was all about whether to designate the land around the Chuit River “unsuitable” for coal mining. The way it stands now, PacRim Coal plans to (for the first time ever) actually dig up eleven miles of productive salmon stream for a giant open pit coal mine.  “Don’t worry,” they say. “We’ll just put it back the way it was when we’re done.” Well, it doesn’t take a biologist to…