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Assembly requests state support for IJC involvement in mining issues


The Petersburg Borough Assembly sent a letter to Lt. Governor Byron Mallott requesting state support in asking the International Joint Commission (ICJ) to get involved in mining activity in the Alaska-British Columbia Transboundary Region.

The Borough Assembly passed a resolution last October supporting the same thing along with municipalities in Wrangell, Sitka and Juneau.

“The transboundary rivers that empty into our region provide the life-blood to our economies and quality of life,” the letter states. “The extensive and somewhat risky mining activity in these watersheds is of definite concern to the residents of this region. Tailing dam failures have happened recently which brings up concerns that more spills or failures could happen and would threaten the livelihoods and communities that border these rivers. We are worried and need your help.”

The Borough Assembly unanimously voted to send the letter at a meeting last week.

Before voting, Assembly Member Bob Lynn said funds should be directed towards a water baseline-monitoring test.

“We have a mine on the other side already going into production,” Lynn said. “Right now there is no baseline monitoring that has ever been done. When you get those mines you’ve got arsenic and copper and other metals but we’ve never tested, the lower part of the Stikine’s never been tested for those kinds of things so we don’t have a baseline.”

A request baseline monitoring was included in the letter.

Mayor Mark Jensen said the Alaska’s federal delegation is prepared to go to the IJC but is waiting for state support.

“It would be nice to have the Lt. Governor take a position on this well before the end of the year before the election,” Jensen said.

The Taku, Stikine, and Unuk rivers are all potentially affected rivers in the region.

In other business, the Borough Assembly passed a zoning ordinance in first reading that rezones a portion of the greenbelt of the Airport Addition Subdivision from Open Space (OS) to Commerical-1 (C-1).

The assembly also authorized the purchase of an electric department F350 Flatbed for an amount not to exceed $42,090.


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