The U.S. Forest Service has affirmed a decision allowing future increases in helicopter landings on the Juneau Icefield. Steve Brink, the agency's deputy regional forester for natural resources in Alaska, backed a decision from the Juneau Ranger District this summer that keeps the number of permitted landings at 19,039 in 2003 and 2004 and allows 5 percent annual increases in 2005, 2006 and 2007. In doing so, he ruled against four appeals asking for cuts in landings because of flightseeing noise.
On Sept. 12 the Sierra Club filed litigation over the Corps of Engineers' granting of a permit that allows Coeur d'Alene Mines to discharge 4.5 million tons of mine waste into a lake.
Eric Twelker's My Turn in the Juneau Empire on Sept. 4, though it directed as many insults toward the plaintiffs in the Kensington litigation as he could fit in, did raise some important issues.
L ast May, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that removed funding for building logging roads in inventoried roadless areas of the Tongass National Forest.
Merrill Stanford made several statements about the Kensington Gold Mine in his opinion of July 13.
Gov. Frank Murkowski has told the state Department of Transportation to resume study of the environmental impacts of a road or other improved transportation link out of Juneau. What's been called the Juneau Access Project has been on hold for about three years since former Gov. Tony Knowles decided fast ferries were a better way to connect Juneau with the mainland road system.
Environmental groups seeking wilderness protections for the Tongass National Forest have asked a federal judge to reinstate a ban on logging and road-building, pending appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Conservation groups are weighing in on a federal ruling last week to end the Tongass National Forest's exemption from the Roadless Rule. The rule protects such areas from logging and building.
This letter is written to address a single issue regarding the Kensington Mine. That question is whether it is environmentally preferable to construct a dam to enlarge Lower Slate Lake and then deposit mine tailings behind that dam, or to use a dry-stack facility.
Since a suit was filed to put the Tongass National Forest back into the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, there has been a lot of debate about the effects it will have on the Tongass. Many of the claims have been inaccurate or misleading.
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