Resource Development Council

RDC Comment Letter:
Kensington APDES permit

Mr. Kenwyn George
State of Alaska
Department of Environmental Conservation
410 Willougby Ave
Juneau, AK 99801

Re: Issuance of an APDES Permit to the Kensington Mine

Dear Mr. George:

The Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc. (RDC) writes to express support for the issuance of an Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (APDES) permit to the Kensington Mine.

RDC is a statewide business association comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s oil and gas, mining, forest products, tourism and fisheries industries. RDC’s membership includes Alaska Native Corporations, local communities, organized labor, and industry support firms. RDC’s purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources.

The Kensington Mine began operating in 2010 and has a projected mine life of at least 10 years. The mine’s current operating plan includes two highly advanced treatment plants operated and monitored by experienced technicians and scientists. The mine uses a 23-acre lake for tailings treatment, for which the monitoring plan is extensive. At closure, the mine will increase the size of the lake and enhance fisheries and wildlife habitat.

The APDES permit places stringent standards that ensure more than adequate protection of human health and water quality. The outlined discharge limitations and monitoring requirements are at least as restrictive as the prior permit drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This exemplifies the fact that the State of Alaska can and should issue discharge permits going forward.

The Kensington Mine employs over 200 people, with a strong emphasis on local and Alaska Native hire. The mine and its employees contribute over $2 million to the City & Borough of Juneau in property and sales taxes. It is clearly an economic engine for Southeast Alaska with a strong commitment to protect the environment. Therefore, RDC wholeheartedly supports the issuance of the final APDES permit for Kensington in a timely fashion. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important issue.

Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc.