April 23, 2004
Juneau, AK - Thursday, Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski added his voice to those of the Alaska Legislature's Interior Delegation in asking the Northern Alaska Environmental Center to withdraw their permit appeal on the Pogo Mine.
"There is a right way and a wrong way to do things," Murkowski said, "and clearly, Northern Alaska Environmental Center has chosen the wrong path. What kind of message is the Center trying to send to Alaskans when after four years of working with the mining company through the permit process they choose to bring up new issues and lodge their appeal a mere 72 hours before it was to become final? "
"It was the wrong thing to do and it has violated the trust of everyone who worked so hard to bring the Pogo mine to life. After behaving in this fashion, it is hard to imagine any company or group of citizens wanting to work out environmental issues with the Northern Alaska Environmental Center. This would truly be a bitter legacy for the Center's Board of Directors," said Governor Murkowski.
Murkowski said, "I am gravely disappointed by the fact that the appeal sent more than 300 hardworking Alaskans to the unemployment line, and it becomes a far more serious issue for Delta Junction and Fairbanks. Plans for the development of Pogo called for the employment of more than 500 people and the expenditure of some $500 million. Those are jobs and purchases important to the region, and counted upon by a lot of Alaskans. The Northern Alaska Environmental Center's ill-advised actions totally disrupt this process and place the entire future of this important mining project in the hands of people who have no stake in the outcome."
"The good news is that
it is not too late for the Center to do the right thing. I urge
the Northern Alaska Environmental Center to reconsider its action,
withdraw the permit appeal and sit down with Teck Cominco, the
State of Alaska, and the Environmental Protection Agency to work
out any misunderstandings that may still exist. In doing this
there is still time to restore the trust placed in the Center
by all of the other people who have worked so long and hard with
them on the project," said the Governor.
Source of News Release: