Since 1912 when Alaska was officially designated a Territory of the United States, the development of our resources, including mining, has provided the major source of Alaska’s wealth.
Mining has continually provided jobs and income for Alaska’s families including mine throughout most regions of our State from the Far Northwest to the tip of the Southeast Panhandle.
Alaska is one of the richest resource states in the Union. With many types and vast amounts of natural resources to develop, we have created comprehensive policies that now ensure their safe and profitable development. Laws pertaining to Alaska’s permitting process are continually updated and refined as new technologies become available.
When I was the Speaker of the House, the revision and updating of our well-established permitting policies was a high priority. We did not do this in a vacuum
all of these policy refinements were accomplished in an open public process. The best scientific advice was applied, while conforming to State and Federal guidelines and the adamant direction of the people to “do things right.”
As a result of Alaska’s permitting process, we now have major resource development projects throughout the state that are the most environmentally safe in the nation. Our permitting system is commonly used as a model for other states and nations.
This brings me to the crux of my remarks which concern the integrity of our established resource development permitting system and the revered Fairness Doctrine treasured by most Alaskans.
I want to focus on three points which I hope Alaskans will take into consideration as they make decisions regarding the future of mining in Alaska and specifically how the permitting system will affect the Pebble Mine development project:
1. Alaska's Fairness Doctrine: Where would we be today if Alaska had allowed the permitting process to be corrupted in the past and projects such as these had not been developed?
• Major oil fields: Prudhoe Bay, Endicott, Kuparuk, Kenai Peninsula, Cook Inlet gas
• Major working mines: Red Dog, Usibelli, Fort Knox, Greens Creek, Pogo
• Major power projects: Terror Lake, Bradley Lake, 4-Dam Pool, Snetisham
• Major construction projects: expansion of the Anchorage airport, completion of the Parks Highway to Fairbanks and the Dalton Highway to the North Slope
2. The integrity of our state's established permitting system for resource development: What happens to any future project such as another hydroelectric facility, a major bridge crossing a waterway to open up new areas of Alaska for development, a major port or harbor that needs to be expanded or a new road that needs to be built if we cannot assure investors that our permitting policies are safe, fair, inclusive and applied equally to all people and to all projects?
3. Alaska's credibility as a reasonable place to do business: If we allow one group to influence and buy off those that must ensure our fair and equitable permitting process, how will this affect private sector investment in future development projects? The only answer is “negatively,” and it would be a disaster.
What truly bothers me are the organized attempts underway to block the permitting process from moving forward for the Pebble Mine. This attempt to limit due process is so unfair it is truly un-Alaskan and un-American.
The United States and the State of Alaska have valid workable permitting processes in place and if Northern Dynasty and the Pebble Mine can meet the hurdles contained in this process, then and only then will they be given the opportunity to develop the world-class resources contained in this deposit.
I would urge all of you to join Truth About Pebble and publicly state your support for a fair and informed debate. Please visit us at: truthaboutpebble.org.