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Senate Passes Pair of Bills to Boost Responsible Mining in Alaska

JUNEAU-Today, the Alaska State Senate passed Senate Bill 2, one of a pair of bills sponsored by Senator Cathy Giessel, R-Turnagain Arm/North Kenai, designed to boost mining in Alaska. Senate Bill 1 , which designates May 10 as “Alaska Mining Day” each year, passed the Senate on March 4.   SB2 authorizes the state to join the Interstate Mining Compact Commission.

“Mining was central to Alaska’s early development and economy,” Senator Giessel said. “In the late 1800’s rugged individual prospectors came to Alaska and started what is now the state’s second largest industry, providing thousands of high-paying jobs and producing almost 7% of Alaska’s gross state product.”

By designating one day each year to salute mining in Alaska, SB1 will help create public awareness of Alaska’s rich mining history and appreciation for Alaska’s miners and the mining industry through educational activities and celebratory events.  May 10th was chosen because the General Mining Act of the United States was adopted on May 10, 1872.

“The mining industry built much of the infrastructure we see today in Alaska.  The most recent example is the Lake Dorothy Hydroelectric Dam near Juneau, which serves Juneau residents, yet was needed because of the Greens Creek Mine,” said Senator Giessel.  “The mining industry also employs more than 2,000 people and creates public revenue by paying both state and local taxes.  I think ‘Alaska Mining Day’ is a great way to reflect on how important this industry is to our state.”

SB2 authorizes the state to join the Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC).  The IMCC is a coalition of mining states which join together to represent environmentally sound resource development interests on a national level.    The IMCC brings a collective voice in preserving and advocating for states’ rights.

“In today’s legislative and regulatory climate in Washington, DC, it is more important than ever for state governments to be heard,” said Senator Giessel.  “IMCC is recognized by many in the nation’s capital for its experience and expertise on mining issues. Becoming a member of the IMCC pushes Congress to recognize Alaska as an important player in environmental concerns and regulatory issues.”

Full membership in the IMCC also provides Alaska’s resource and permitting agencies with access to a network of peers to exchange information about best practices and regulations to further advance the mining industry in Alaska.

“Joining the IMCC gives Alaska the opportunity to build on our successes, share what works with other states, and foster a better relationship with federal agencies,” said Senator Giessel.  “I would like to thank my colleagues in the Senate for their support on these important bills.”

SB1 and SB2 now head to the House for further consideration.

For more information, please contact Margaret Dowling in Senator Giessel’s office at 907-465-8181.

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