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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…

Pebble Mine and History

Butte, Montana has a couple of distinguishing claims to fame; one controversial, the other, not so much.  What is controversial is that Butte boasts to being the headwaters of the Columbia River.  The Canadians and Wikipedia would sharply disagree, but state and federal government and non-profit websites point to Silver Bow Creek in Butte as the headwaters to the Clark Fork River, a “major headwaters stream” of the Columbia River.  Anyone who knows rivers knows that if you start with forks, you end up with the main body of the river sometime downhill. If you trace the Columbia River upstream from the Pacific Coast, you will…

Chuitna Coal – Dollars and Sense

It’s time for a little Mudflats Theatre. But this time, you get to participate in the drama! It’s kind of like an improvisation. Let’s pretend we’re doing a business deal. We sit down in a conference room overlooking majestic Cook Inlet, which borders the city of Anchorage. You arrive, we shake hands, and close the door. You’re on one side of the table, and I’m on the other. We lock eyes for a moment, and then mine dart down to a yellow legal pad in front of me, upon which numbers have been scrawled. I look back up at you…

Pebble Mine and the Foreign Fox in Alaska’s Legal Hen House

By Shannyn Moore We take the 49th star on our nation’s flag for granted. That was a hard fight, and statehood wasn’t won on the first pass or even the second. The tipping point and fuel came in large part from the “We-don’t-like-being-bossed-around-by-outsiders” attitude of Alaskans. It’s a bit ironic when we look at ourselves 50-plus years later. This week at the Alaska Energy Council luncheon, oil lobbyists and Republican lawmakers sat side by side at the head table. I guess I should be grateful they’re fraternizing in public instead of in a room at the Baranof. I long for…

When in Doubt, Trust….The Bush Administration?

A potentially precedent-setting ruling in a case involving Alaska resource development came through the Supreme Court yesterday.  It involved the legal contamination of a naturally occurring fish-bearing lake on the one hand, and the economic interest of a mining corporation on the other.  I’ll give you one guess who the court ruled for…and it wasn’t the environment.  (A lightbulb goes off over your head)  “Heyyyy, is this the same Supreme Court that ruled in favor of Exxon recently in that oil spill case?  The one where the environment and local people got the short end of the stick in favor…