Alaska Governor Parnell Urges Feds to Allow Kensington Mine Development to Proceed
July 30, 2009, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that validated the Corps’ Section 404 fill permit for the Kensington Mine and to reinstate the permit so the project can proceed. The governor also noted that a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) request for a new public comment period and supplemental environmental analysis would delay the project or possibly kill it altogether. A delay could cost more than 300 long-term, high-paying jobs in Southeast Alaska.
“Nine years of public comment and review is enough,” Governor Parnell said. “The Supreme Court has spoken. It’s time to put Alaskans to work on this project.”
In a letter to Colonel Reinhard Koenig of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Governor Parnell enclosed the state’s comments expressing support for development of the Kensington Mine. The state argues that the governing regulations do not require more environmental analysis of tailings disposal options when a reasonable range of alternatives in the original analysis adequately covered potential environmental impacts from the project.In the letter, Parnell said, “In my view, something is seriously wrong with the federal permitting system if a state can successfully defend a permit in the highest court of this country only to find that a responsibly permitted project such as this cannot get off the ground and provide needed jobs to our citizens.” Governor Parnell said, “I committed in my inaugural comments less than a week ago to position Alaska’s economy for growth and our children and families for opportunity. The Kensington Mine does both. It enhances our economy and provides job opportunities for Alaskans.”
A copy of the letter can be found at: http://gov.state.ak.us/pdf/GovParnell_KensingtonCorpLetter_July30-2009.pdf