September 26, 2013
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Governor Parnell on Chuitna and Pebble mines water rights, radiation and more. That’s up after this –
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Governor Parnell took questions from Alaskans yesterday on APRN’s Talk of Alaska. Of fishing interest: A set netter asked about his stance on the proposed Chuitna coal mine in Cook Inlet that would remove 11 miles of salmon streams –
I’ve seen the written misinformation about Chuitna and the decision that was made on a proposal to basically stop any permitting and stop any activity. There has been no decision made to allow the mine to go forward. Certainly a company can work the permitting process and the public process, but until such time that that’s allowed to play out it’s … I don’t know what else to say except that my job is to make sure that the public has access to that process – that they have input, that the science is there and then that the department makes a good decision. And we are not anywhere close to that at this point.
On reserving water rights for salmon streams –
That’s an important one. We are the only state in the union that allows a private party to tie up water from other parties. And the only way I think to constitutionally really have a process where everybody has a say in the water is for a government entity to hold those water reservations and not private entities. So that’s one of the reasons why we moved forward with legislation to accomplish that.
On Anglo-American pulling out of the Pebble mine –
Well it certainly sends a message that at least in the case of pebble that a company is going to have a struggle even getting into the permitting process and that means there will be less investment in Alaska in that kind of activity. Of course I am concerned when that happens because it has spill over into smaller areas and other industries. Certainly this causes some concern over a broader picture. We are where we are right now. I cannot invest time and effort on a Pebble permitting process when there isn’t a company to come forward. So that’s where I’ve left it at this point.
Governor Parnell says the state is closely monitoring the radiation threat from Japan’s leaking nuclear plant
So far in our biological testing of fish we have seen no evidence of that, and from our federal government contemporaries, including the military and homeland defense organization that looks over this they have indicated that have not seen environmental contamination in the fish that are returning to Alaska so it is an ongoing effort that our state agencies continue monitoring along with federal agencies but it is not something that has posed a risk to date.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.