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May 5, 2021

Alaska Mining Project Threatens Salmon, Water, and Native Communities

Trump Administration officials have fast-tracked permits for the largest open-pit mine in North America. The proposed Pebble Mine had previously seemed paralyzed, after more than a decade of relentless opposition by Alaska Native elders and youth. Now, plans for the mine are being rushed forward. The final public comment period for the proposed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) permits ends on June 29, 2019. Under the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrote that it would result in a “complete loss of fish habitat” (PDF) in a proposed determination to block Pebble Mine. The mine is planned to…

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…

Money Machine Steamrolls Alaska

This week I received an email from a Republican friend. (Yes, I have those.) She requested a different kind of column from me this week. “Instead of adding to all the ugly, negative political comments out there why not a column about the economic stimulus this election is having on Alaska with all the Outside money coming into the state?” Really? Yeah! We have Outside money trying to get a guy elected that wants to get rid of Social Security! That’s the opposite of economic stimulus. So the short answer is, no. I won’t be riding that unicorn this week….

What Could Go Wrong? This.

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…

Five Things Alaskans Can Agree on. Maybe.

I was thinking of writing about less controversial things this week… you know, like fish allocation wars or immigration. I’m never sure what’s going to throw people down a rabbit hole of rage, so I’ve decided to focus on a Top 5 list that I would hope we Alaskans could all get in agreement with. First — If it’s illegal to have five cars stacked behind your motor home pulling a skiff full of four-wheelers, why don’t I ever see that guy pulled over by the red and blue lights? I don’t know how many times I’ve driven the New Seward…

Parnell, Murkowski & West Virginia

Pop Moore was born and raised in West Virginia. I’m proud of our family heritage in a state that includes the original Rednecks in the Battle for Blair Mountain. That’s where my grandfather fought to unionize the coal mines after getting buried in a slide. When I was growing up, we’d go visit my grandmother in a tiny town in Boone County. It was humid and friendly. Tomatoes from the garden tasted delicious, and the people talked funny. The center of town was the yellow line that ran through it. I loved sitting on the porch swing listening to stories….

Inconvenient Private Sector Jobs

Time to don your rain ponchos, because Republican heads are going to be exploding across the state. This is one of those times when philosophy and reality are on opposite sides, and the confused elephant brains of the majority of the GOP in Alaska are going to have to out themselves, or change sides. Ah, another inconvenient truth. ” Ready? Guess what industry is the largest private sector employer in the State of Alaska? Oil? <<<HOCKEY BUZZER NOISE>>> Mining? <<<REPEAT ABOVE>>> Nope, it’s fish. A recent report issued from the McDowell Group for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute reveals: The…

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…

Spawn Till You Die! (Live Webcam)

What’s almost as good as eating them, or catching them?  Obsessively watching them under water, that’s what. This samcam is located underwater in Steep Creek in Juneau, and just might be the best reality TV around. See Alpha Fish collide as they vie for spawning territory. Frigid underwater hookups are challenging enough, but these young coeds live under constant threat of the ultimate mood killer – bears. Watch them spawn until they die!  Tune in 24/7 to witness the copulation, carnage and relationship decay! It’s literally streaming live! *Spawn till you die artwork, of course, is by the inimitable Ray Troll.

Mudflats Chats: Paul Begala on Pebble & Democrats

I sat down with Presidential adviser Paul Begala, and asked him his thoughts about the proposed Pebble Mine project, Senator Mark Begich, blue lawmakers in red states, and what it really means to be a Democrat. One of the lead advisers to President Clinton, Begala and James Carville shaped a moderate campaign agenda that focused on balancing the budget and creating 22 million new jobs. I’d been told that Begala is an avid hunter and fisherman, and has been fishing near Bristol Bay. So, I knew where I wanted our conversation to begin – with an issue that is of…