SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Supreme Court's Will Review Ruling on Kensington Mine


June 28, 2008

Governor Sarah Palin on Friday commended the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to review a Ninth Circuit Court ruling that had invalidated a federal permit for tailings disposal at the Kensington Mine near Juneau. The state of Alaska and Coeur Alaska had both filed petitions asking the Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit Court's decision, which had essentially forced the company to relocate and redesign the mine's tailings disposal facility.

"This is a step in the right direction," Governor Palin said. "Alaska has stringent development laws and regulations. These standards were rigorously applied by the federal and state agencies in permitting the Kensington project. We are confident the justices will agree that this project can be developed and managed in an environmentally safe manner."

Kensington is a gold project 45 miles northwest of Juneau. A Supreme Court decision reversing the Ninth Circuit and upholding the original permit could allow for construction to take place next year, leading to potential production later in 2009. The mine is currently expected to reach as much as 150,000 ounces of annual gold production in early years of operation. Over the life of the mine, Kensington is expected to produce more than one million total ounces of gold.

The Supreme Court's decision should also provide direction on how certain federal technology standards, which are in addition to state water quality standards, apply in determining the location of tailing impoundments for future projects.

"We need the Supreme Court to decide once and for all what the federal rules are for dealing with mine tailings," Governor Palin said. "The federal laws have been interpreted differently by different courts at different times. The resulting uncertainty makes it more difficult for everyone involved in the permitting of mines in Alaska."

"This is a very exciting day for Kensington Mine, Juneau, and the State of Alaska," said Rep. Don Young (R-AK). "On average, only seven percent of certiorari petitions filed are actually heard by the Court; I think it's a great victory for Alaska that the Court saw this as a serious and important case."

Young said, "One of the biggest issues we have with developing our natural resources today is the extreme environmental groups who look for any possible grounds to sue and shut development down. I look forward to the Supreme Court providing an objective review of the erroneous Ninth Circuit decision that has been holding up a critical project to help grow Southeast Alaska's economy. The mining industry creates among the highest-wage jobs in the private sector"


Source of News:

Office of the Governor

Office of Rep. Don Young


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska