July 2009 - Alaska Brief - Environmental Newsletter
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July 2009 Legal Brief


One of the hallmarks of Trustees for Alaska is our capacity – honed over the course of 35 years on the frontlines of environmental advocacy – to respond to a wide range of threats from one end of this vast state to the other. We are unique in our ability to provide free legal representation on so many Alaskan environmental issues.

In This Issue: Trustees for Alaska Seeks Injunction Against Pebble Mine Exploration

Trustees for Alaska this week filed a landmark lawsuit in Anchorage Superior Court to stop exploration activities for the proposed Pebble Mine.

The suit asserts that the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) repeatedly violated the Alaska Constitution in granting permits for mine exploration without considering the public interest in the region’s salmon, wildlife, and subsistence resources.

The plaintiffs – including a Native organization representing eight village corporations, Native residents of villages near the site of the proposed mine, former Alaska First Lady Bella Hammond, and one of the two surviving drafters of Alaska’s Constitution, Vic Fischer – are asking the court to order a halt to exploration until a final decision is reached in the case.

Pebble is a proposed copper and gold mine on state-owned land adjacent to Lake Clark National Park in the Bristol Bay region. It would be one of the largest mines of its kind in the world, and the largest in North America. People who live in the region are overwhelmingly opposed to the project, which would be located in the headwaters of one of the world’s most productive salmon fisheries. One proposal put forth by developers calls for the billions of tons of toxic mine tailings that would be produced by the mine to be stored in a manmade lake behind massive earthen dams – one of them 740 feet high – that together would be larger than China’s Three Gorges dam.

“It is beyond belief to me that a mining effort is happening in this area,” Hammond stated in her declaration that was filed as part of the suit. She is the widow of former Gov. Jay Hammond and a long-time resident of the region.

Read the full July 2009 Newsletter (PDF).