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2019 STATE ISSUES OF CONCERN FOR THE ALASKA MINING INDUSTRY
Support needed statutory amendments to mining rights law, followed by coordinated regulatory revisions, that resolve the significant problems, including loss of land tenure, from minor mistakes and clerical errors relating to affidavits of labor and qualifications requirements.
Restore an efficient permitting process and confidence in Alaska’s world-class permitting system by exploring innovative approaches to attract and retain qualified personnel. Promote and defend the stringent laws and regulations that protect Alaska’s environment, and uphold this process to demonstrate that Alaska is again open for business.
Require that designation of Tier 3 waters can only be made by a vote of the Legislature. Ensure the State of Alaska does not relinquish its permitting authority to private entities, such as delegating management of the state’s water resources by approving instream flow water reservations to private parties. Affirm that existing water quality regulations ensure environmental, fish and wildlife, and human health protections.
EQUITABLE LOCAL TAXATION
Ensure local taxes are broad-based and equitable by amending state statutes to preclude severance taxes on the metal mining industry.
• Require that water quality standards are scientifically supportable and developed using site-specific criteria. Ensure continued availability of mixing zones.
• Ensure State coordination with federal regulatory agencies over Section 404 wetlands permitting, mitigation, and management to ensure that projects have access to reasonable wetlands mitigation tools.
• Adamantly oppose federal encroachment on States’ rights, such as the use of preemptive federal actions and unnecessary permitting requirements.
• Oppose unwarranted Endangered Species Act listings and critical habitat designations in Alaska and ensure such decisions are based on sound science.
• Oppose new policies that are designed to elevate one resource over another and recognize that existing policies have proven that Alaska mining projects successfully co-exist with the natural environment.
LAND AND MINERAL MANAGEMENT
• Resolve and process the backlog of appeals at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
• Maintain and defend State sovereignty over navigable waters as granted at Statehood.
• Require a thorough evaluation of mineral potential and access prior to any State land designations.
• Support state efforts for collecting resource data, such as airborne geophysical mapping programs as a means for increasing future state revenues.
• Pursue and defend guaranteed access for all uses across all state and federal lands within Alaska.
• Actively engage with the Department of the Interior and industry to ensure that neither the review process for placing tribal lands into trust, nor the final designation of a parcel as trust land, results in any temporary or permanent restrictions on access to, and development of, resources on adjacent lands.
• Advocate for termination of the application of the Roadless Rule to the National Forests in Alaska.
• Pursue a Secretarial Order lifting ANCSA 17 (d)(1) Public Land Orders.
MINING EDUCATION AND TRAINING
• Continue to support University level resource education and vocational training programs to provide for a trained workforce.
• Maintain State of Alaska/industry partnership to support Alaska Resource Education (ARE).
STATEWIDE POLICY IMPACTS
• Support continued successful collaboration between the State of Alaska and the Province of British Columbia on responsible resource development within the transboundary region.
• Initiate a statewide Constitutional amendment to eliminate management of our natural resources by ballot initiative.
• Enact legislation to require disclosure when funds from non-profit organizations are used to affect natural resource policy, permitting, and litigation.